CPBL: Dragons Sign Colombian P Herrera; Brothers Sign Vet Chen; Hawks Add Wang for ’24

Outfielder Wang Po-Jung of Chinese Taipei strikes out in the top of 1st inning during the WBSC Premier 12 Super Round game between South Korea and Chinese Taipei at the Zozo Marine Stadium on November 12, 2019 in Chiba, Japan. Wang is returning to Taiwanese baseball in 2024 with the TSG Hawks of the Chinese Professional Baseball League after playing five seasons in Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network

The Chinese Professional Baseball League offseason is starting to heat up. Players with nine years of service time in the CPBL are eligible to be free agents, and the trade market is also active.

Next season, the league will expand from five organizations to six with the addition of the TSG Hawks. The path to the 2024 championship has only become more challenging with another team added to the mix, and the Wei Chuan Dragons will seek to defend their title next year.

What moves are the five other organizations making to try and stop the Dragons? What moves are the champions making? Here are several recent transactions in the CPBL that are noteworthy heading into next season.

Wei Chuan Dragons Sign RHP Jasier Herrera – The Wei Chuan Dragons have signed right-handed pitcher Jasier Herrera, according to CPBL STATS on X. Herrera, 25, was born in Cartagena, Colombia, and played five seasons in the San Francisco Giants organization from 2015-21.

He spent the last two Nippon Professional Baseball seasons with the Saitama Seibu Lions, going 2-4 with a 3.98 ERA in 52 innings during 2023.

Herrera pitched for the Colombian national baseball team in the 2020 Americas Olympic Qualifier and U-23 Baseball World Cup. He came out of the bullpen for the Lions and should continue in that role for the Dragons.

TSG Hawks Sign RHP Kento Onodera – The CPBL’s newest expansion team, the TSG Hawks, have signed right-handed pitcher Kento Onodera for the 2024 CPBL season, reports CPBL STATS on X.

Onodera is from Japan, but pitched for the Hawks in the 2023 CPBL Winter League. In 19.2 innings, he posted a 0.92 ERA and struck out 15. According to CPBL STATS, Onodera’s fastball topped out at 92 mph when he pitched in the Baseball Challenge League in Japan.

He should be a full-time starting pitcher for the TSG Hawks this upcoming season.

CTBC Brothers Sign Veteran Chen Chun-Hsiu to Three-Year Contract – The CTBC Brothers announced last week that they signed first baseman, catcher, and left fielder Chen Chun-Hsiu to a three-year contract. The 35-year-old played the previous four CPBL seasons with the Rakuten Monkeys.

Chen reached as high as Triple-A in 2013 while in the Cleveland Guardians organization, the team that signed him as an international free agent for $300,000 in 2007. He returned to the CPBL in 2014 with the Lamigo Monkeys.

His best statistical professional baseball season was in 2015 with the Monkeys, hitting 25 home runs with 118 RBI and a .989 OPS.

The CTBC Brothers welcomed Chen to the team on December 11 with an introductory press conference.

TSG Hawks Sign OF Wang Po-Jung – The TSG Hawks hope get a boost to their lineup with the addition of Nippon Professional Baseball veteran Wang Po-Jung.

Wang signed a three-year contract with the TSG Hawks in Taiwan after playing in NPB since 2019. He has hit 116 home runs in his nine-year professional baseball career with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and Lamigo Monkeys. Injuries limited him to five games with the Fighters during the 2023 season.

“The last five years in Japan have been very fulfilling, and I cherished my time with the Fighters organization,” Wang said at his press conference. “I have grown tremendously in both my baseball skills and life experiences. I want to share what I learned in the NPB with the younger Hawks players and start contributing to the TSG Hawks.”

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