Drew Ruchinski, 35, who dreamed of becoming the next KBO export, has had a bitter pill to swallow.
The Oakland Athletics have waived Luchinski’s 2024 team option, MLB Trade Rumors reported on Wednesday (June 3). Luchinski signed a one-year, $3 million guaranteed contract with Oakland before the season. He could have earned up to two years and $8 million if his $5 million team option for 2024 was exercised, but Oakland opted to release him, pocketing only $3 million.
It was a year that didn’t live up to Oakland’s expectations. Luchinski started four big league games this season in the aftermath of an injury and struggled mightily, going 4-4 with a 9.00 ERA in 18 innings pitched. He was placed on the disabled list in mid-May with abdominal pain, which the team later detailed as degenerative back pain. He underwent surgery in July and is expected to be out until 2024. Oakland had no reason to exercise the team option.
Luchinski raised his stock in South Korea before heading to the United States. He spent four seasons as an ace with the NC Dinos from 2019 to 2022, posting a record of 121 games, 53-36, 732⅔ innings, 657 strikeouts, and a 3.06 ERA. His ability to pitch 30+ games and 170+ innings each year, while being responsible for 10 wins, earned him another shot at the big leagues.
In the big leagues, the original KBO reverse export myth is Merrill Kelly (35, Arizona Diamondbacks). Kelly spent four seasons as an ace for the SK Wyverns (now the SSG Landers) from 2015 to 2018, compiling a career record of 119 games, 48 wins, 32 losses, 729⅔ innings, 641 strikeouts, and a 3.86 ERA. He came to the big leagues in 2019 when Arizona offered him a two-year, $5.5 million contract, and he has since established himself as a two-way starter with a 48-43 record, 750⅔ innings pitched, 681 strikeouts, and a 3.80 ERA in 127 games over five seasons. Kelly was the de facto ace in this year’s postseason, going 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings pitched in four games as Arizona, which finished as the National League’s No. 6 seed, 토토사이트 stormed to the World Series runner-up finish.
With Luchinski failing to pick up Kelly’s mantle, the U.S. is once again turning its attention to a foreign ace playing in Korea. Enter NC’s Eric Peddie, 30. Peddy started all 30 games of the regular season this year, posting a 20-6 record, 180 1/3 innings pitched, 209 strikeouts, and a 2.00 ERA, making him a strong candidate for regular season MVP. He led the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts, and became the fourth pitcher in KBO history to win the Triple Crown.
MLB.com mentioned Peddie on March 3 in a roundup of KBO and Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) stars who will soon be playing in the majors. They wrote, “Kelly will play in the KBO