Relief pitcher Oh Seung-hwan of the Samsung Lions decided to move to Japan's Hanshin Tigers on a record-breaking, first-term contract, his agency said Friday.
The 31-year-old signed on for two years with the Nippon Professional Baseball team for 300 million Japanese yen (US$2.9 million) a year with a signing bonus of 200 million yen. With 50 million yen in annual incentives, Oh can receive up to 900 million yen from the Hanshin Tigers. The amount is the highest among his three predecessors including Lee Seung-yeop in 2004, Kim Tae-kyun in 2009 and Lee Dae-ho in 2011.
"I saw sincerity in Hanshin, which have shown consistent interest in me with good terms from the beginning," Oh said.
"That's why I chose Hanshin."
Oh has been with the Lions since his debut in 2005. He has 277 career saves out of 444 games, earning him the nickname "king of closure."
The Lions won five championships with Oh closing out games, including the last three. He was voted the Korean Series Most Valuable Player in 2005 and 2011, and holds an all-time postseason saves record with 13.
"Hanshin were in desperate need of a closer," Kim Dong-wook, head of agency Sports Intelligence that helped the pitcher's negotiations with the Japanese team, said. "They were consistent in their interest in Oh because with him, their chances of winning would be greater. And (Oh) knew that, too."
Oh thanked the Lions for supporting him through the process.
"Wherever I may be pitching, I will make sure to return to the Samsung Lions to throw my last ball as an athlete," he said. (Yonhap News)