In this file photo from April 18, 2021, Ryon Healy of the Hanwha Eagles heads to first base after hitting a home run against the NC Dinos in the top of the seventh inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Changwon NC Park in Changwon, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)
The South Korean baseball club Hanwha Eagles said Sunday they've released their struggling American first baseman Ryon Healy.
Healy, a two-time 20-homer man in the majors, batted only .257/.306/.394 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs in 67 games this year, his first season in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). Among 54 qualified hitters, Healy ranked 43rd in batting average and 53rd in on-base percentage.
Healy signed a one-year deal worth up to $1 million, the maximum amount allowed for a first-year foreign player in the KBO. He agreed to a guaranteed salary of $500,000 and a signing bonus of $300,000, with another $200,000 up for grabs in incentives.
An official with the Eagles told Yonhap News Agency that Hernan Perez, a veteran of 651 big league games, was one of the candidates to replace Healy.
Perez, 30, is familiar with the current Eagles manager and fellow Venezuelan, Carlos Subero. Perez played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2015 to 2019, and Subero served as the club's first base and infield coach from 2016 to 2019.
Perez made his big league debut with the Detroit Tigers in 2012 but enjoyed his best years with the Brewers. In 123 games in 2016, Perez had 13 homers, 56 RBIs and 34 steals, second most on the Brewers. The following year, he appeared in a career-high 136 games while putting up 14 home runs, 51 RBIs and 13 steals.
In that 2017 season, Perez appeared at every position except catcher and even pitched one inning in relief.
Perez became a free agent after the 2019 season and signed with the Chicago Cubs. He only appeared in three games last year and inked another free agent deal with the Washington Nationals in February this year.
He played in 10 games in Washington but became a free agent again. He rejoined the Brewers in May but hasn't appeared in any game for his old club in 2021.
He competed for Venezuela in an Olympic baseball qualifying tournament in June.
KBO clubs can each sign up to three foreign players, with a maximum of two pitchers. They can make up to two roster changes involving their foreign players per season. (Yonhap)