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September 25, 2020

Ex-MLB pitcher signs richest contract in Taiwan pro baseball history

Taipei, Sept. 23 (CNA09/23/2020) Former major leaguer Wang Wei-chung (王維中) has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan's professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons (味全龍) announced Wednesday.

The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year contract worth US$2.08 million with the Dragons, the team's chairman Hsu Wen-fang (徐文芳) announced at a press event.

It was the biggest contract in the local Chinese Professional Baseball League's (CPBL's) 31-year history, surpassing the previous pace-setting contract, a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng (林智勝) signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers.

Though the overall value of Chen's deal set a new record, his average monthly salary NT$990,000, or US$33,719, was lower than Lin's pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017 and 2018.

According to Hsu, the team was willing to offer such a big contract to Wang in the hope of "keeping talented players in Taiwan."

Wang, who most recently pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019 and was the first player picked in the CPBL's 2020 draft, said he was happy to join the Dragons and will do his best to help the team win CPBL championships.

The Taitung-born Wang, the first southpaw pitcher to be drafted No. 1 in league history, made his MLB debut for the Milwaukee Brewers on April 14, 2014 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

He played four seasons in the major leagues, racking up a 3-0 record with an ERA of 6.52 in 49.2 innings, and one season in the South Korean professional league in 2018.

The Dragons are as an expansion franchise and will not compete in the CPBL until the 2021 season.