Jae-gyun Hwang has signed a four-year, $7.9MM deal with the KT Wiz of South Korea’s KBO League, Yonhap News’ Jeeho Yoo reports (Twitter link). Hwang was outrighted off the Giants’ 40-man roster in September and he elected to become a free agent after the season.
In returning to the KBO, Hwang ends his big league experiment after just one season. He signed a split contract with the Giants last January and hit a solid .285/.332/.453 over 386 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. After being called up to the big leagues in June, however, Hwang only managed a .154/.228/.231 slash line, albeit in just 57 plate appearances. Hwang was called up while regular third baseman Eduardo Nunez was on the DL, though even after Nunez was traded, the Giants preferred to give the starting third base job to the returning Pablo Sandoval rather than give Hwang a fuller look at the hot corner.
It was reported last season that Hwang turned down much richer offers from Korean teams (including the KT Wiz) in order to test himself in MLB, and clearly he wouldn’t have found anything near a $7.9MM deal if he’d chosen to remain in North America for another season. The 30-year-old Hwang posted some impressive numbers in his first 10 KBO seasons, hitting .286/.350/.436 over 4690 PA with 115 homers and 173 stolen bases.