Reunited with his old team that fell on hard times last year, All-Star catcher Yang Eui-ji said Wednesday he wants to lift the club back to the postseason in his second tour of duty.
Yang was re-introduced as a member of the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. On Nov. 22, Yang signed a four-year deal with a player option for two more seasons with the Bears, valued at up to 15.2 billion won (US$12.2 million).
Yang made his Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) debut with the Bears in 2007. Then after the 2018 season, he signed a four-year deal with the NC Dinos as a free agent.
With the 12.5 billion won contract from 2018 expired, Yang chose to return to the team that drafted him in the eighth round in 2005.
The Bears will look to Yang to lead them back to the promised land. They missed the postseason for the first time in eight years in 2022. They had played in every Korean Series from 2015 to 2021, winning three titles in the process. Yang was the Korean Series MVP in 2016.
“I go into every season looking to win a championship,” Yang said. “I’ve missed the postseason the past two years with NC, too. I want to get back to playing as much playoff baseball as possible, and take this team to the Korean Series. I am really looking forward to the 2023 season.”
Yang helped the Dinos to their first Korean Series title in 2020, earning the Korean Series MVP award for himself after beating the Bears.
“I cried so much after that title and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to return to Doosan because I celebrated too much,” Yang said with a laugh. “But then I’ve had fans come up to me and tell me they wanted to see me back in Doosan uniform. This is where I realized my dream of becoming a professional ball player, and I am so happy they wanted me back.” 먹튀검증
Yang had already been the league’s most complete backstop in his first stint with the Bears, and then elevated his game to another level as a Dino.
Yang’s four-year deal with the Dinos had paid him 12.5 billion won. His combined total of 27.7 billion won from two free agent deals is the most ever earned by a KBO player in the open market.
Yang, who will turn 36 in June, said being paid big bucks at an age when most players slow down doesn’t put any extra pressure on him.