After a stellar 2023 season with the NC Dinos, Eric Peddie left his mark on the KBO.
In 30 regular-season games and 180⅓ innings, Pedi went 20-6 with a 2.00 ERA. He is the fifth pitcher in KBO history to reach the 20-win, 200-strikeout mark and the first in 37 years since Sun Dong-yeol (24 wins, 214 strikeouts) in 1986.
He is the first foreign pitcher to do so.
He also won the league’s top three awards for ERA, wins, and strikeouts, making him a strong MVP candidate.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing.
Pedi was hit in the right arm by a pitch on October 16 against the KIA Tigers and was subsequently removed from the roster for the wild-card game.
He was added to the semi-playoff roster, but didn’t make an actual start, and on October 30, he took the mound in Game 1 of the playoffs and pitched six innings of three-hit ball (one home run) with 12 strikeouts and one run allowed in a 9-5 win.
It was Pedi’s last start of the season, as he was unable to throw the ball afterward as his body failed to recover, and he had to watch the playoffs end with a Game 5 victory for KT, which had the series tied at 2-2.
After the game, Pedi cried hot tears as he walked off the field, probably feeling sorry for his team, his teammates, and the fans.
On November 8, Pedi departed for his home in Arizona, USA, via Incheon Airport.
On November 7, the day before his departure, we interviewed him at his home in Masan.
Eric Peddy didn’t pitch in Game 5 at KT Wiz Park in Suwon.
It wasn’t that he didn’t pitch, it was that he couldn’t. With two wins in hand after two losses and KT expected to bounce back, NC sent Shin Min-hyuk to the mound.
In the fifth inning, Pedi was spotted moving to the bullpen, and we expected him to pitch in the final game of the playoffs, but he returned to the dugout without throwing a ball.
His shoulder was in no condition to throw the ball.
NC lost game 5 2-3. After NC failed to advance to the Korean Series, Pedi burst into tears as he left the dugout.
I asked him what those tears meant.
“I was upset and sad that I couldn’t be more helpful to the team.
During my time in NC, I became best friends with my teammates, we worked hard together, and I think we accomplished some special things together, so I was sad to see that nine months of togetherness come to an end.
Everyone around me understood the meaning of my tears, and they were a testament to how much I loved being an NC athlete and playing for this team. 먹튀검증
I am so grateful to the team for treating me like family.
NC will always have a special place in my heart.”
Throughout the postseason, Eric Pedroia’s availability has been a topic of conversation.
However, when asked about Pedi’s timetable, NC manager Kang Shin-ho couldn’t give a precise answer.
The player was doing his best to get fit, but he wasn’t sure if his shoulder was strong enough to start.
Then NC announced Eric Peddie as the starter for Game 1 of the playoffs, and Peddie did his part and got the win. Peddie says he was aware of the media’s interest in his availability.
“I tried to focus on what I love and not think about the media attention and other things.
My team kept winning (since the wild-card game), and they gave me a chance to rest more, so I was able to be ready for Game 1 (of the playoffs).
(Even then) I wasn’t at full strength, but I was happy to throw one more time in an NC uniform.”
Recalling the “bullpen controversy” that some media outlets had talked about after his Game 1 start and his absence from Games 4 and 5, Eric Peddy had this to say
I tried to get healthy for my team, and I did everything I could with my team to be the player I could help.
I did everything I could to help us win, but it didn’t work out.
In the end, I felt guilty because we lost, and I feel guilty that I didn’t pitch.
But I want to tell you that I really tried my best to get on the mound in Game 5.”
When the NC Dinos announced the signing of Eric Peddy as their new foreign pitcher on December 20, 2022, for a total of $1 million, baseball insiders were stunned, and rightfully so, as Peddy’s career has been nothing short of spectacular.
Drafted by the Washington Nationals with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 draft, the big right-hander made his big league debut in 2017 and went on to appear in 102 games (88 starts) over the next six years until 2022, posting a 21-33 record with a 5.41 ERA in 454⅓ innings.
Even though he had his worst season in 2022, it was hard to believe he was playing in the KBO for $1 million.
Pedi’s salary for the 2022 season was $2.21 million.
“I know there were different opinions when I first came to Korea.
If you ask me to go back a year and choose a team, would I make the same choice now, I would say yes without a doubt.
The 2023 season in NC was a huge confidence builder for me. I am truly blessed to have had this experience in my baseball life.”
Eric Peddy thanked his teammates and team officials for helping him make the transition to the KBO.
“I had a lot of help from the players during spring training in Arizona, and they understood my culture. Obviously, it’s not easy to play in a foreign country, but I want to express my sincere gratitude to the players for helping me adjust.”
Of the 30 games he has played in the KBO, Eric Peddie considers the regular season opener to be the most memorable.
“The opening game was my first start in an NC uniform.
The opponent was the Samsung Lions, and the crowd was very loud.
It was an atmosphere I had never experienced before.
I felt something exhilarating when the crowd cheered for a 3-2 full count.”
Eric Peddie has had a successful season in the KBO.
The more he pitches, the less likely it is that we’ll see him in the NC next season.
In fact, there are a lot of teams that want him in the majors, and the odds are that he’ll get a very good deal and return to the majors.
As for his future, Peddy said nothing is set in stone right now.
“Right now, I think I’m going to go home, get some rest and work on my training.
For the first time in my career, I had a season where I pitched over 180 (180⅓) innings, and if I want to continue that next season, the only thing I can do is train, and I’m going to have to work harder.
First, I’m going to go home and get some treatment and if my arm feels better, I’ll start training.
Now that I’m a free agent, I’m going to do what’s best for me and my family and focus on improving my game, whether that’s in Korea, the major leagues, or somewhere else.”
At the end of the interview, Eric Peddie thanked the NC players who inspired him so much this season.
“This season wouldn’t have been the same without my teammates, with whom I had such an amazing season, and I’m so grateful for the love they gave me throughout the year and the time we spent together.
I hope to see you again soon and I love you guys. You’re my family.”
After the interview, Eric Peddie showed the reporter the photos, characters, and t-shirts he had received from NC fans over the years.
He added that this season in the United States has been unimaginable, and that he knows how much NC fans have loved and supported him.
At one point, fans said they should take away his passport and wanted him to play with NC next season.
Pedi understands the sentiment.
But professional baseball is a business. The fans understand that. The choice is the player’s.
I had one last dinner with Eric Peddy before his departure. It was at his favorite pork belly restaurant.
As we wait for the meat to grill, he pours a beer into a glass.