The Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization announced this week that they’ve signed former Angels infielder Jose Miguel Fernandez to a one-year contract (link via the Yonhap News Agency). He’ll receive a $50K signing bonus, a $300K base salary and another $350K worth of incentives, giving him the opportunity to earn up to a total of $700K on the deal.
Fernandez, 30, made his big league debut with the Halos this past season and posted a .267/.309/.388 batting line with a pair of home runs and eight doubles through 123 trips to the plate. Those numbers are hardly inspiring, but Fernandez is also a veteran of the Cuban National Series who’s previously served as the second baseman on Cuba’s World Baseball Classic team. He hit .315 or better in six of his eight pro seasons in Cuba and turned in a terrific .332/.397/.531 line through 406 career plate appearances at the Triple-A level between the Dodgers and Angels organizations. Fernandez also walked nearly as many times (34) as he struck out (35) in that time in Triple-A — a trait which a Bears spokesperson highlighted as particularly intriguing when announcing the move.
By going to South Korea, Fernandez will secure a greater payday than he would have bouncing back and forth between the Majors and minors, and a strong showing for a year or two in Asia could create greater intrigue among Major League clubs than he’d have otherwise received. Heading overseas also creates the potential to return as a free agent who can command a more substantial than he’d have otherwise commanded as a pre-arbitration player through at least the 2021 season.
Hernandez is the second former Angels infielder to sign with an Asian team in the past week; Jefry Marte inked a one-year deal with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball last week.