Monday, July 22, 2024

No need to act strong” Lot Tae-hyung meeting

All prospective FAs attending → Veteran finishing camp… A breathless first step

Prospective free agents will also attend the meeting with the new manager. The 17-year veteran is expected to be no exception to the finishing camp he will preside over.

Even with the maximum amount of free agent recruitment, the team experienced failure in fall baseball for six consecutive years. Now it is expected that we will meet the Lotte Giants, whose voices on the field have become louder again.

Starting in 2024, Lotte will be led by coach Kim Tae-hyung. The terms are 3 years and a total of 2.4 billion won including down payment. It is the same amount as KT Wiz coach Lee Kang-cheol, who recently signed a three-year extension contract. Although there was a one-year break, he was reaffirmed that he is still a coach with the highest value.

On the 18th, CEO Lee Kang-hoon met with director Kim Tae-hyung in person, and the contract was signed within two days. Immediately afterwards, the appointment of the director was officially announced. CEO Lee Kang-hoon explained to Sports Chosun, “We wanted to finalize the contract before the start of the final camp.”

Accordingly, Lotte delayed the finishing camp, which was originally scheduled to start on the 23rd, by two days. On the 24th, Director Kim Tae-hyung’s official inauguration press conference will be held. After the meeting on the 25th, the final camp begins in earnest. This is the beginning of the ‘Kim Taehyung era’.

In particular, it is unusual for ‘prospective FAs’ to attend the meeting.

This year, Jeon Jun-woo had a batting average of .301 2/3, 17 home runs, 77 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.852, which are as good as those in his prime. Ahn Chi-hong was also the team’s No. 2 hitter in name and reality, with a batting average of .209, 8 home runs, 63 RBI, and an OPS of 0.774. The two players at the center of senior leadership will become free agents at the end of this season. Even if free agent players remain, they often do not attend events held under the team’s name until they officially sign a contract.

However, both of them willingly decided to attend the meeting with director Kim Tae-hyung. Regarding the background, an official explained, “It’s a good idea to attend if possible. There’s no need to ‘pretend’, right? There’s a high possibility that the two players will remain in Lotte, and in the long run, they will meet anywhere on the baseball field.”

We literally hired a winning contractor and a winning commander. This is a change that can be considered a cataclysmic change for Lotte, which has mainly preferred ‘beginner managers’. Moreover, it was very rare to recruit outside personnel with championship experience. Former coach Kang Byeong-cheol achieved the Lotte team’s only two wins in its 41-year history.

Due to the nature of their status as free agents, Jeon Jun-woo and Ahn Chi-hong will not participate in the finishing camp. Even if they are not free agents, veterans in their early to mid-30s usually do not participate in finishing camps and build their bodies through personal training.

However, ‘affiliated’ players who are not FAs are different. Jeong Hoon-do, a 17-year veteran, and former FA players (Noh Jin-hyuk, Yoo Kang-nam, and Han Hyun-hee) are also scheduled to attend the finishing camp without exception.

A great player who led the Korean Series for 7 consecutive years came to the team that plays fall baseball once every 11 years. This is why attention is focused on the finishing camp led by coach Kim Tae-hyung.

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