CPBL Foreign Players Updates Volume #83
Fubon Guardians News: Henry Sosa Return to KBO?
For the past few weeks, there were plenty of rumours about the Fubon Guardians’ Henry Sosa might be leaving CPBL for either NPB or KBO. On April 30, the Taiwanese online community came across an Instagram photo showing Henry Sosa signing a contract with a certified KBO agent to represent him.
Korean sports agent Kang Joon-Woo wrote this on his social media, “I flew to Taipei last weekend to finalised the managerial contract with Henry Sosa, I hope to find Sosa a suitable team.”
As of May 1, Henry Sosa posted a solid 1.76 ERA and 0.82 WHIP across 51 innings with 55 strikeouts and only six walks. While both Sosa and the Guardians did not confirm the rumours, all the signs are suggesting that something is definitely in work behind the scene.
Based on the rumours, the Fubon Guardians hold Henry Sosa’s contract until June. So, either KBO or NPB team buyout Sosa early, or they wait until the end of June when the contract expired.
Henry Sosa News Tracker
As always, to keep all the information nice and tidy, we have compiled all the news in regards to Henry Sosa and the rumours of him leaving for either NPB or KBO. (Last updated: June 5, 2019.)
June 5: SK Been Watching Sosa Since April
According to the SK Wyverns’ manager, the team have been monitoring Henry Sosa since late April.
June 3: SK Wyverns Buyout Henry Sosa’s Contract
Fubon Guardians have confirmed KBO’s SK Wyverns have purchased Henry Sosa’s contract from the Guardians. A few moments later, SK Wyverns announced the signing of Sosa for a total package of $520,000 USD. [further reading]
June 1: KBO SK Wyverns Scouts in Taiwan
Liberty Sports reported that the representatives from the SK Wyverns will be in Taiwan to watch Henry Sosa on June 2 against Lamigo Monkeys.
May 31: KBO Lotte Giants to Sign Sosa?
Korean media Sports Chosun reported the Lotte Giants are interested in signing Henry Sosa to replace Jake Thompson who is currently out with an elbow injury.
MK Sports reported the Lotte Giants are indeed in the process of reviewing other options for a new foreign player. It is not confirmed if it is going to be Henry Sosa or not.
According to OSEN, apart from the Lotte Giants, two other KBO teams are also interested. Henry Sosa is expected to make the final decision this weekend or next week. The OSEN article also pointed out, Henry Sosa’s contract with the Fubon Guardians is not a short term contract but rather a full year deal. Should a KBO team wish to acquire Sosa, they would have to buy out his contract from the Guardians.
May 7: NPB Seibu Lions’ Scout Sighting
The NPB Seibu Lions’ foreign players scouts Tetsu Suzuki and Yoshihiro Doi were spotted at Xinzhuang stadium on May 7. At this stage, it is unknown whether the NPB scouts were in Taiwan to watch Henry Sosa or not.
May 5: KIA, Unnamed NPB Team
ETtoday reported that KBO’s KIA Tigers and an unnamed NPB team are interested in Henry Sosa. The article also hinted the unnamed NPB team have a Taiwanese player in their organisation and is likely to buyout Sosa’s contract early from the Guardians.
Based on the new information, the following NPB teams fits the description, Nippon-Ham Fighters, Chiba Lotte Marines, Seibu Lions, Rakuten Eagles, Yomiuri Giants, Orix Buffaloes and Hanshin Tigers.
May 3: kt wiz Deny Rumour
Korean media SPOTV News reported that the kt wiz denied the rumour that the team has been in contact with Henry Sosa and the Fubon Guardians.
May 2: Guardians Deny Rumour
The Fubon Guardians denied the KBO rumour once again. According to the Guardians’ vice general manager, the team has not heard anything from either Henry Sosa’s American agent nor any teams from the KBO.
May 1: KIA Tigers, kt wiz Interested
According to ETtoday, there are at least two KBO organisations have been in contact with Henry Sosa, the KIA Tigers and kt wiz.
April 30: Sosa Signs With Korean Agency
An Instagram photo surfaced online showing a Korean sports agent signing Henry Sosa as his client.
April 29: NPB Interested
Liberty Sports reported, the Guardians only signed Henry Sosa until June. There are rumours NPB team plan to buyout Sosa’s contract with the Guardians.
April 26: NPB Surfaced; Sosa, Guardians Comments
Apply Daily reported there are NPB teams interested in Henry Sosa.
In an interview with Liberty Sports, Henry Sosa declined to comments on the NPB and KBO rumours. The Fubon Guardians’ representative told ETtoday, at this stage, no KBO teams contacted the Guardians about Henry Sosa.
April 23: Guardians Signed Backup Pitcher
The Fubon Guardians invited Ryan Bollinger to tryout for the team’s fourth foreign pitcher. He is currently serving as the backup in the Guardians’ farm team.
April 20: KBO Eyeing Sosa
SET News reported multiple KBO teams are eyeing Henry Sosa in the CPBL.
February 17: Turned Down AAA Contract
In an interview with SET News, Henry Sosa mentioned he turned down a minor league deal (Triple-A) with the Chicago Cubs during the offseason.
Foreign players come and goes, therefore we compiled a foreign players tracker to keep track of all the foreign players signing for the 2019 CPBL season.
I am not surprised that Sosa is doing so well in the CPBL, the guy had the lowest FIP in the KBO over the last two seasons
Sosa only pitching against the Uni-Lions and Brothers also boosted his stats. Made 7 starts, 6 games are against those 2 teams. Brothers got the worst lineup in the league while Uni-Lions are pretty much on their 2nd team due to injuries.
His last game was against the Monkeys and was hit pretty hard, gave up 4 earned runs, but at the same time still able to finished 8 innings.
Having said that, Sosa is still the top pitcher in the CPBL. I think with his KBO experience, he understands how to pitch effectively in Asia. Always throw strikes, because chances are the hitters are not going to capitalised on his 97mph fastball. If they did, probably just give up a solo home run or a double that’s about it.
It is a shame pitcher like him can’t stay in Taiwan, would love to see more of him in the 2019 season. Rumour he is on above $30,000 USD per month, maybe we might see more power pitcher like him with that price next season? Because whenever he is on, the bullpen pretty much got a day off.
The Kia Tigers’ two foreign pitchers Jacob Turner and Joe Wieland haven’t pitched well so far in 2019, so the odds are good that the team will be looking for a new pitcher when Sosa’s contract with Fubon
Sosa will be hard for the Guardians to replace. Sosa was presumably available to play in the CPBL for CPBL money because of his tax problems in South Korea. That’s probably not a situation that’s easy to repeat.
I think that could be what the KBO teams are aiming for. Waiting until June then there’s no need to buyout. Sosa is essentially a free agent.
Another upside of this, given Sosa only played under 180 days in Taiwan, that will make him a non-tax resident. Which means his tax rate can be as low as 20%. I think that’s the same case for him in Korea too. Financially speaking this could be the optimal route for him, 6 months in Taiwan and 6 months in Korea.
After this “Sosa experiment”, team ought to figured out by now it is actually worth to spend money on “4A” foreign pitchers. I still believe each team can afford to sign at least 1 player at the $50,000-$60,000 USD per month salary bracket. It is not NPB, KBO money, but it might be something enough to get someone decent.
But yeah, unless they start spending, I think it is highly unlikely they can get someone in Sosa’s calibre again.
Not on an annual basis anyway.