The professional baseball offseason is in full swing. With a number of big-name free agents exercising their rights, we’re expecting a hotly contested signing period. The secondary draft, which has been revived after a four-year hiatus, is also fiercely contested.
According to the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), a total of 19 players have been approved for free agency this year. Of the 34 players previously announced as eligible, the majority have exercised their rights. Each team was limited to signing two outside free agents without exceeding 20 total players.
The general consensus is that there will be no big-name players who will sign 10 billion won contracts like Yang Ji (15.2 billion won for 4+2 years) last year or Na Sung-beom (15 billion won for 6 years) two years ago. In the case of Yang Seok-hwan, the biggest name in the game, he is attractive in terms of being a right-handed first baseman, but he is rated ‘A’ in free agency, so he will have to risk bleeding when signing. As for veterans Kim Sun-bin, Ahn Chi-hong, and Jeon Jun-woo, apart from their solid skills, their age is a burden.
On the pitching side, the bullpen stands out. Kim Jae-yoon, who has recorded more than 30 saves in each of the last three seasons, and Ham Deok-ju, who signaled a resurgence this year with a sub-1 ERA, are top options for teams in need of bullpen reinforcements. Hong Gun-hee and Joo Ju-woo are also proven resources. Lim Chan-kyu, who won a career-high 14 games this season, is the biggest name in starting pitching. 캡틴토토 도메인
The reigning champion LG Twins are also making waves in the stovepipe. In January, “Captain” Oh Ji-hwan, who had agreed to a six-year, 12.4 billion won non-free agent contract, exercised his free agent status. The team has yet to finalize the details of the contract.
This is a strategy that is conscious of the secondary draft, which has been revived after four years. In preparation for the secondary draft, teams are required to create a 35-player protected list, and free agents do not have to be added to this list. As a result, LG saved a card that could have been used to protect Oh. It could be argued that this is a loophole.
The status of closer Go Woo-seok is also a hot topic. Earlier, the Major League Baseball office requested the KBO to check Go Woo-seok’s identity on the 14th, and the player himself expressed his intention to go abroad during a meeting with the club.
Meanwhile, the winners of the KBO’s new defensive awards have been decided. Following the pitchers and outfielders, the winners of the catchers and infielders were also revealed today. Yang Ji Byung-ho, Kim Hye-sung, and Heo Kyung-min were honored, while at shortstop, Oh Ji-hwan and Park Chan-ho shared the award with a total of 87.5 points. Oh led Park with 75 points in the voting, but Park’s 20.83 points in objective defensive metrics outpaced Oh’s 12.5 points.