The Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization have acquired first baseman Will Craig (hat tip to reporters Sung Min Kim and The Yonhap News’ Jeeho Yoo). Craig will earn $371K for the remainder of the KBO season according to Yoo, while MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports a $425K salary.
Craig was most recently a member of the Pirates, and GM Ben Cherington said over the weekend that Craig had been given permission to look into opportunities with Asian teams. Pittsburgh has designated Craig for assignment and outrighted him off its 40-man roster twice, with the most recent outright assignment coming last month.
Craig has spent his entire professional career with the Pirates, beginning after the Bucs selected him with the 22nd overall pick of the 2016 draft. He has a .261/.351/.421 slash line over 2060 career plate appearances in the minor leagues, mostly playing first baseman but also getting some as a third baseman and right fielder. After being selected for Pittsburgh’s alternate training site in 2020, Craig made his MLB debut with two games last season, and then appeared in 18 games for the Pirates this year.
In 69 PA in the majors, Craig has hit .203/.261/.281 with one home run (in his first game of the 2021 season). Unfortunately for Craig, his most famous moment as a big leaguer was a uniquely memorable fielding error against the Cubs this season, when he engaged in a rundown with batter Javier Baez between first base and home plate rather than just step on first base to retire Baez on a routine grounder.
As noted by Kim, Craig will replace David Freitas as the foreign-born position player on the Heroes roster. Freitas was placed on waivers by the Seoul-based team last month.