William Cuevas, who won the 2021 KT Wiz championship, has returned to his hometown team after rejecting offers from other KBO League teams.
“He was approached by other clubs, but he decided to come to KT,” KT head coach Lee Kang-cheol told reporters ahead of the team’s 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League game against the Kiwoom Heroes at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on Monday.
KT, which swept a three-game series against the Lotte Giants and went on a five-game winning streak, made a strong push for fall baseball. The team released Bo Schuler, who was 1-7 with a 5.62 ERA in nine games, and signed Cuevas to replace him for a total of $450,000.
Cuevas spent four seasons with KT from 2019-2022, compiling a 33-23 record with a 3.89 ERA and 390 strikeouts, most notably in 2021, when he was the ace in the tiebreaker game for first place in the regular season against the Samsung Lions and the first game of the Korean Series, leading KT to its first ever integrated title. An elbow injury sidelined him early in the season last year, but he returned to KT a year later.
The competition for Cuevas was fierce. With a shortage of foreign pitchers available in the immediate future, teams looking to replace their pitching staffs approached Cuevas, who had a strong record in the KBO.
“It was difficult (to replace foreign pitchers) because there were few players available,” Lee said, “but we tried to sign Cuevas, who had regained his pre-injury form. We also took into consideration that he had completed his adaptation to the KBO.”
Cuevas’ desire to wear a KT uniform again was also strong. Cuevas has fond memories of his time with KT besides winning championships. After being released last year, he enjoyed a month-long stay in Korea with the help of the club. KT also honored Cuevas by organizing an opportunity for him to say goodbye to the fans.
“I think KT fans will like him as much as they did in 2021,” Lee said, adding, “Cuevas is scheduled to arrive on the 12th, and we plan to use him (in the first team) immediately after asking his wishes.” 메이저놀이터