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For Giants’ Hwang Jae-gyun, MLB debut means major payday

Hwang Jae-gyun of the San Francisco Giants fulfilled a clause in his contract by making his Major League Baseball debut Wednesday, which means he could make up to $1.6 million in incentives.

Hwang Jae-gyun celebrates after collecting his first major league hit, a home run. (Yonhap)
Hwang Jae-gyun celebrates after collecting his first major league hit, a home run. (Yonhap)
In January, Hwang signed a minor league deal with San Francisco that included performance-based bonuses and incentives. His starting minor league salary was $125,000, but the contract included a $1.5 million bonus for making the team’s roster and up to $1.6 million in extra incentives.

According to the Associated Press, those extra incentives can be earned by reaching a certain milestones in at-bats, including 250, 300 and 350 ($125,000 each), 400 ($150,000), 450 ($300,000) and 500 ($675,000).

However, as the season is nearly at the halfway point, it is unlikely that Hwang will be able to accumulate more than 250 at-bats. If he appears in each of the Giants’ remaining 81 games, and receives an average of nearly four at-bats per game, 300 could be attainable.

The contract also includes an additional $100,000 bonus if Hwang is able to stay off the disabled list for the next 90 days.

Hwang had played with San Francisco’s AAA affiliate Sacramento River Cats since the beginning of the season before getting his big chance Wednesday. Starting at third base and hitting fifth, Hwang went 1-for-4, collecting his first major league hit, a solo home run off Colorado Rockies starter Kyle Freeland, in the sixth inning.

Hwang, who was a six-time All-Star in Korea’s top baseball league, turned down larger contract offers from Korean baseball clubs to become a free agent and take a shot at his major league dream. He fulfilled that dream Wednesday in San Francisco, and will get a chance to continue it as he joins the Giants on Saturday for their road trip east against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

By Alex Park / Intern Reporter