Lotte made a decision on the 18th during the All-Star break. Signed right-hander Aaron Wilkerson after breaking up with Dan Straily for four years. Wilkerson, who made his major league debut in 2017 in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform, made only 14 appearances in three seasons. Although he does not have a lot of big league experience, he has 58 wins, 31 losses, and a 3.42 ERA in 158 minor league games.
Wilkerson also has strengths in Asian baseball. Lotte said, “We highly appreciated the adaptability of Asian baseball gained through the experience of Japanese professional baseball.” Last year, Wilkerson played for the Hanshin Tigers in the Japanese professional baseball league, recording 5 wins, 5 losses, and a 4.08 ERA in 14 games.
Lotte is looking forward to Wilkerson’s performance in the second half, citing Wilkerson’s fast ball movement and breaking ball control as its strengths. Wilkerson, who arrived in Korea on the 19th, is training with his teammates. Whether Wilkerson plays depends on Lotte’s advance to the postseason.
Kiwoom made a strong move to release Edison Russell on the 13th, ahead of the last game of the first half. Russell was recovering from a wrist injury and was about to return, but Kiwoom chose to replace him. Russell’s replacement is Ronnie Dawson. Dawson, who was named to the Houston Astros as the 61st overall pick in the second round of the 2016 Major League Baseball Rookie Draft, was called up to the major leagues in 2021. However, he played only four games and was not called back by the big leagues.
Dawson spent most of his time in the minor leagues. In six seasons, he batted .247 with 72 home runs, 305 RBIs and 105 stolen bases in 641 games. This year, he played 63 games in the independent league with a batting average of 0.282 with 13 home runs, 39 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Kiwoom paid attention to various advantages such as Dawson’s power, main power, base running sense, and wide defense range. If Dawson does his part, he can show synergy effects with Lee Jung-hoo, Kim Hye-sung, Lee Won-seok, and Lee Hyung-jong, who lead the attack.
First of all, the start is not bad. Dawson started as the fourth batter left fielder against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Stadium on the 22nd and reported RBIs and scores. Dawson, who appeared in the top of the first inning with one out and runners on first and second base, brought Kim Hye-sung home with a heavy hit that hit Lotte starter Park Se-woong’s fourth curve in a one-ball-2 strike.
He then went to third base on Lee Won-seok’s left-handed hit, followed by Lee Ji-young’s push-out walk with two outs and a full base, and scored his first goal in his debut. In addition, switch-hitter Nico Goodrum, who joined Lotte Jack Rex as an alternative foreign player, made his debut on the 21st, the first game of the second half.
In a game against Kiwoom at Sajik Stadium, Koo started as the second batter and third baseman and hit a hit in his first at-bat in the bottom of the first inning. It is a heavy hit against Kiwoom ace Ahn Woo-jin in his first at-bat since his debut. Goodrum, who advanced to second base with An Chi-hong’s left-handed hit, could no longer advance due to the failure of a follow-up hit.
Goodrum signed an annual salary of $400,000 with Lotte earlier this month at the end of the first half. Lotte chose to replace existing foreign hitter Jack Rex after suffering from a knee injury. Attention is also drawn to Goodrum’s performance, which has utility and excellent on-base skills.