Ko Woo-seok, who left for the U.S. as a big leaguer

KBO League closer Go Woo-seok (25, San Diego Padres) has departed for the United States.

Ko boarded a flight to the United States on the afternoon of Sept. 9 through Incheon International Airport. His departure was delayed due to a rush to get his visa processed, but he will be able to join the San Diego Padres’ spring training pitcher-catcher squad in Peoria, Arizona, on April 12 (KST).

“I’m not aiming for a big goal or a finishing spot right away, but I’m aiming to be healthy from the opening game to the end,” said Ko, who appeared at the airport with his wife, Lee Ga-hyun, and their son, who was born last November, in an interview before his departure, adding that his first goal is to make the 26-man opening roster.

San Diego must find a new closer after last year’s closer, Josh Hader, left in free agency for the Houston Astros. Established closer Robert Suarez is the favorite to be promoted to the closer’s role, but newcomers will have their work cut out for them. Yuki Matsui, who has 236 career saves in Japan, and Wandy Peralta, a former closer for the New York Yankees, will join Go Woo-seok in the new closing competition.

Since joining the LG Twins in the first round of the 2017 draft, Go has developed into one of the KBO’s top closers. Despite his lack of height at 6-foot-2, Go has lived up to the hype of being the next Seung-hwan Oh, with a strong upper body and a throwing distance of up to 158 kilometers. He established himself as the LG closer with 35 saves in 2019, followed by 30 saves in 2021 and 42 saves in 2022.

In seven seasons in the KBO, he has a career record of 354 games (368⅓ innings), 19 wins, 26 losses, 139 saves, 6 holds, a 3.18 ERA, and 401 strikeouts. Last year, after a shoulder soreness hampered his preparation before the season, Go struggled a bit with a 3-8 record, 15 saves, and a 3.68 ERA in 44 games (44 innings). However, after receiving military service benefits for winning a gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou and helping LG win the Korean Series, he decided to give the major leagues a try.

The LG organization’s acceptance of Posting paved the way to the major leagues. It wasn’t until the deadline to negotiate with the Dodgers that Post was able to move quickly, signing a two-year, $4.5 million guaranteed deal. He will make $1.75 million this year and $2.25 million next year, with a $500,000 buyout if his $3 million mutual option for 2026 is not exercised.

If the 2026 option is exercised, he could earn up to $9.4 million over three years with various performance 토토 bonuses. If he starts 70 or more games this year, he gets a $100,000 bonus. Then, if he pitches 40-45-55-60 games in each of the 2025-2026 seasons, he’ll earn $100,000 in bonuses, up to a maximum of $400,000 per year.

In 2025, the deal also includes a veto that prevents players from being sent down to the minors without their consent. While there is a risk of being demoted to the minor leagues this year in his rookie year, he is guaranteed a stable position next year in his second year. He also received two round-trip airline tickets between Korea and the United States each year.


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