Free Agent Migration in the Korean Professional Baseball League: To Move or Not to Move

Joo Yeon Sun

This study explores free agent transactions of the Korea Baseball Organization from 2000 to 2018. It examines whether player mobility patterns differ across free agent pitchers and hitters. The probability of free agent pitchers transferring increases with the pitching position of the starting or closer pitcher. The probability of transfer for a hitter is negatively associated with age and left-handedness. The inertia of staying with the current team increases when substantial signing bonuses are paid to the free agent pitcher. A strong contract year affects the hitter mobility model, with a higher probability of transfer and a greater contribution to team wins in the final year before free agency. The longer a free agent’s contract, the higher the probability of them moving. A huge increase in the annual salary one year before free agent eligibility hinders the movement of hitters, whereas financial compensation does not constrain pitchers’ move.