The Doosan Bears are looking for a foreign bat for the 2024 season. Jose Rojas, 30, who played the role of filial piety in the second half of this year, is on the list, but for now, the Bears are looking for a player with better defense than Rojas.
“We are looking for an outfielder with good defense,” said a Doosan official at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on March 23, regarding the 2024 season.
The official said, “Manager Lee Seung-yeop is looking for a defensive outfielder. If we have a defensive outfielder, Kim Jae-hwan, who has poor defense, can hit designated hitter. That way, the team can run smoothly. However, there are not many outfielders who can play good defense.”
The reason Doosan is looking for a new outfielder is because Rojas hasn’t performed well enough to secure a new contract. He hasn’t been bad enough to warrant a replacement, but he’s also had an “ambiguous” record that makes it difficult to make an offer to keep him for next season.
Rojas, who became a Doosan Man for a total of $1 million, was described as a “spray heater with excellent contact and vision,” but he struggled to adjust to the league for quite some time. Despite being a foreigner, he was consistently batting sixth or seventh in the order, and his batting average hovered in the low teens, leading to his release at one point. By the end of June, he was hitting just 1-for-9 with two doubles, 10 home runs, 카지노사이트 27 RBIs, and a .678 OPS in 55 games.
Rojas finally started to show his stuff in July, when he began working on his mental game.
After hovering in the low teens to mid-teens, his monthly batting average jumped to 2-for-8 in July, and he carried the momentum into August, going 3-for-5 with three homers and 15 RBIs. Since then, he has maintained a steady grip on the game, raising his season batting average to 2.5-3.0 after dropping to 1.2-5.0.
Doosan initially evaluated Rojas as a mid-to-long range hitter with good contact, but he surprisingly hit 19 home runs. He hit the second-most home runs on the team, behind only Yang Seok-hwan (21). His home runs were impactful, including an extra-inning homer in the opener and a solo shot in the wild-card game. Rojas hit 10 home runs in the first half of the season and nine in the second half of the season.
In his first year in the KBO, Rojas batted .253 with 19 home runs, 65 RBIs, 52 runs scored, and an OPS of .819 in 122 games. To put it bluntly, he didn’t meet expectations for a foreign hitter, except for his home run total. Add to that the fact that he went 25-for-67 with 15 home runs (262-for-67) against right-handed pitching and 3-for-4 with three home runs (37-for-12) against left-handed pitching, and he struggled against lefties, going 2-for-1 with one home run (104-for-23). In other words, there was a lot of left-right variation.
Defensively, he alternated between left and right field, but it’s hard to see his defense as an advantage.
Despite being a foreign hitter, he was often substituted for a big leaguer late in games to bolster his defense.
Doosan currently has its top foreign scout working around the local time difference to gather information. Of course, finding outfielders with good defense is not an easy task. Typically, foreign hitters who come to the KBO are rarely able to combine offense, defense, and baserunning. That’s why Doosan is considering re-signing Rojas.
“It’s true that the pool of foreign players is narrower than in the past,” said a Doosan official. “If there is no other option, we have to go to Rojas. In fact, the bats in the second half of this year were top class. There are players who are slow to adapt to Korean baseball, and Rojas was one of them.”
Unlike the batters, the pitchers’ plan is going smoothly. Instead of looking for new faces, the team opted to re-sign the Raul Alcantara-Brandon Waddell one-two punch.
Alcantara returned from Japan and fulfilled his ace duties, going 13-9 with a 2.67 ERA in 31 games, while Brandon, who joined the team midseason, has been a success as a replacement, going 11-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 18 games.
“Alcantara and Brandon are basically planning to re-sign and are in constant contact with their agents,” a Doosan official said.