“This is cheating. I apologize to my fans.”
Chow Chan, 37, boldly addressed the sensitive issue through his YouTube channel Chit Chit Chit, which he and comedian Do Kwang-rok run together, on Friday. Looking back on the six years he spent with the LG Twins before retiring from active duty, he admitted that he was a “free agent cheat.
Chau-chan was drafted by the Samsung Lions with the seventh pick of the 2006 second round after graduating from Gunsan Sangho. Despite struggling with his pitches, he turned into a 10-win pitcher in 2010 and became one of the best lefties in Korea. After a steady performance in the middle of the order, he signed a four-year, 9.5 billion won contract with LG in the 2016-2017 free agent market.
However, he didn’t have a stellar season with LG. He went 12-10 with a 6.09 ERA in 29 games in 2018, 13-8 with a 4.12 ERA in 29 games in 2-019, and 5-5 with a 5.34 ERA in 13 games in 2020. He then signed another two-year, 2 billion won free agent contract with LG. However, he went 2-1 with a 5.24 ERA in five games in 2021. In 2022, he did not play a single game. He then signed with the Lotte Giants, but his career ended without playing a single game.
Looking back on his four-year, $9.5 billion contract, Chowchan says, “I didn’t get my money’s worth. I won’t say I did my best. I signed a four-year contract and played full-time for the first three years. My ERA wasn’t good, but I had a lot of innings and quality starts. But I got that big contract, so my numbers had to be good. I wasn’t bad for three years, but I wasn’t worth the money.”
“There were a lot of games where I gave up a lot of runs,” Chowchan continued, recalling the 2018 season when he had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. It wasn’t just a little bit, it was a lot. My elbow was in a lot of pain. I wish I would have had the surgery sooner, but I played the whole year in 2018 with pain (surgery in October 2018). But I had a good first and third year. I went to the postseason, and in 2019 I went to the national team.”
The only disappointment was 2020, when he was cut mid-season due to a shoulder issue. “I prepared well for my final year. I was in the rotation from the start, and my shoulder started to hurt a little bit, but I still wanted to finish the season well, so I was disappointed that it didn’t work out.”
To summarize, Chauchan had a decent 2017 and 2019, but a high ERA. In 2018, he had an ERA in the 6s, which he didn’t excuse, but he did admit that 2020 was the year. “The fourth season was a bust. It was a loss for me and a loss for the team. The fourth season was a loss,” he said.
Chowchan had been suffering from shoulder pain since 2020. He underwent shoulder surgery in late September 2021, so it was a long process of trying to rehabilitate and not getting it right. In 2021, he traveled to the Tokyo Olympics, and despite his best efforts, it didn’t work out. It was effectively the end of his career.
Chowchan admits that he had options beyond his 9.5 billion won guaranteed contract, but says, “The things in the article are not true. Now we announce the full amount, but back then we didn’t have to announce the option. I had an overseas agent at the time, but I signed the domestic contract. Anyway, I didn’t get it all. I can only say sorry to the fans.”
Chow Chan then applied for free agency again and signed a two-year, 2 billion won contract, but it didn’t happen. In five games in 2021, he went 2-1 with a 5.24 ERA. He decided to have shoulder surgery in the middle of the contract, so he couldn’t play properly. “The total amount was 2 billion won for two years, with 600 million won guaranteed and 1.4 billion won in options. I couldn’t play because I was sick, and it was the most difficult situation.”
“There was a lot of talk about my second free agency. “It was a bad process, but I only played five games and had to shut down the season, and in the second season, I only rehabbed. I signed a second contract with LG, and I’m very sorry to the team and sorry to the fans.”
Chowchan admitted to cheating during his six years at LG. He sincerely apologized to LG fans. “I admit that I wanted to do it right, but I didn’t do it well. But I still love LG and had a fun time playing baseball. I don’t know how I can help the baseball world in the future, but I will pay it back one day at a time,” he said.