The Korea Baseball Organization’s Kiwoom Heroes have reached a new deal with right-hander Ariel Jurado, Jeeho Yoo of the Yonhap News reports (via X). Jurado will earn $1.2MM in salary on his new one-year contract, and another $100K worth of incentive bonuses are also available.
Jurado’s debut season in the KBO League was a success, as he posted a 2.65 ERA over 183 2/3 innings. Though he struck out only 19.3% of batters, Jurado (who turns 28 next month) had a solid 5.4% walk rate and a staggering 65.5% groundball rate. The righty allowed only seven homers last season, a noteworthy feat in the hitter-friendly KBO.
Jurado’s performance was one of the few highlights of a tough season for the Heroes, who followed up a Korean Series appearance in 2022 with a last-place finish in 2023. It isn’t surprising that the team was eager to retain Jurado as it tries to get back on track, and Jurado cashed in with a substantial raise on his $850K salary from last season. Another nice showing in the KBO League could get Jurado some more attention from MLB clubs, though his grounder-heavy approach doesn’t have as much traditional appeal to scouts as a more strikeout-reliant pitcher.
A veteran of three MLB seasons, Jurado tossed 181 innings for the Rangers and Mets in 2018-20, with all but a single one of those frames coming in a Texas uniform. Jurado posted a 5.97 ERA while working mostly as a swingman, and he started 27 of his 45 Major League appearances. He missed all of 2021 recovering from Tommy John surgery, and then posted a 3.30 ERA over 57 1/3 frames in the Twins’ minor league system in 2022 without getting another call up to the majors.