Yasiel Puig (32), who left Kiwoom after being charged with perjury related to illegal gambling, was also turned away from the Cuban baseball team.
The Cuban baseball team, led by coach Armando Johnson, announced the 50-man preliminary list for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the 7th (Korean time). The reserve roster consisted of 25 pitchers, 5 catchers, 12 infielders and 8 outfielders. The deadline for announcing the WBC final entry of 30 is until the 7th of next month.
Players with rich experience in the big leagues, such as Yoan Moncada and Louis Robert (above the Chicago White Sox), Yoneis Cespedes and Roennis Elias, who are currently active in the American major leagues, formed the main axis. But there was no name for Puig, a former major league star.
Puig entered the KBO league when he joined Kiwoom ahead of the 2022 season. Kiwoom raised high expectations by signing a contract with Puig for the highest annual salary of a new foreign player, 1 million dollars (approximately 1.3 billion won).
He was a bit sluggish in the first half, but from the second half, he started to show an appearance worthy of his reputation. His performance in the first half was only 70 games with a batting average of 2.4 5 Lee, 9 home runs and 37 RBIs, but in the second half, he contributed to the team’s batting line with 56 batting averages .3 1 7 Lee, 12 home runs and 36 RBIs.
In the postseason, he performed brilliantly and led Kiwoom to the runner-up. He played a big role with a batting average of 3.1 4 Lee 토토 (17 hits in 54 at-bats), 3 homers, 10 RBIs and 9 points in a total of 15 games from the semi-playoffs to the Korean Series.
As a result, Kiwoom and Puig seemed highly likely to renew their contracts, but there was a variable. The U.S. Department of Justice announced on the 15th of last month that Puig had committed about 900 illegal sports bets in 2019, and also admitted to perjury charges. Puig agreed to pay a fine of $55,000 (about 72 million won) for perjury charges.
However, on the 1st of last month, he suddenly changed his stance to withdraw from the fine payment agreement related to perjury. “I should not have pleaded guilty in that case,” Puig said in a statement on social media. Kiwoom, who fell into a benign situation, eventually gave up on renewing the contract with Puig, and Puig became a lost child.
Cuba is in Group A with Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands, Italy and Panama in the first round of the WBC, which will be held in March. If they advance to the second round, there is a possibility that they will face Korea in Group B.