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Padres sign KBO reliever Go

Woo Suk Go Korea Woo Suk Go - Getty Images

SAN DIEGO (AP) — South Korean reliever Woo-Suk Go and the San Diego Padres agreed Wednesday to a $4.5 million, two-year contract that includes a 2026 mutual option plus bonus and escalator provisions that could make the deal worth $9.4 million over three seasons if he closes regularly.

The right-hander was 3-8 with a 3.68 ERA and 15 saves in 44 appearances last year for the Korean Baseball Organization champion LG Twins. Go and new Padres teammate Ha-Seong Kim were both on South Korea's World Baseball Classic roster last year, but Go did not make an appearance.

Go was 19-26 with a 3.18 ERA and 139 saves in seven seasons with LG. He led the KBO with 42 saves in 2022.

He'll receive salaries of $1.75 million in 2024 and $2.25 million in 2025, and the deal includes a $3 million mutual option for 2026 with a $500,000 buyout. The Twins get a $900,000 posting fee from the Padres, with more possible if he earns the performance bonuses or triggers the escalators.

General manager A.J. Preller said the team will determine during spring training whether Go or recently signed Yuki Matsui will replace Josh Hader as closer. Hader became a free agent after last season, when the Padres failed to make the playoffs.

“We're not going into this with any kind of roles yet," Preller said. "We're getting as much talent and guys who have different looks as we can. When we get to spring training we'll see how they adjust and throw the ball and understand how they will benefit the team.”

Go would earn a $100,000 bonus for pitching in 70 games this year and could earn up to $400,000 for pitching appearances in 2025 and 2026: $100,000 each for 40, 45, 50 and 55.

His salaries in 2025 and ‘26 could escalate by up to $500,000 based on games finished in each previous season: $125,000 each for 15, 25, 35 and 45. Escalators earned this year would apply to 2025 and to 2026.

The Twins would receive additional money from the Padres based on 20% of any earned bonuses or triggered escalators.

As part of the deal, Go can't be assigned to the minor leagues during the 2025 season without his consent, and he will become a free agent when the contract ends. He gets two roundtrip airline tickets between South Korea and the U.S. each year.