“As expected, a lot of our players went out.”
LG Twins general manager Cha Myung-seok was calm when we met after the second round of the draft. But he couldn’t hide his disappointment.
The second round of the draft reaffirmed that LG is the new ‘hot potato’ in the KBO. With only seven players, including three LG players in the first round and the first pick of the second round, Oh Seok-ju (Kiwoom), LG filled four of its picks. Positions were also precious: three pitchers and one catcher. “We’ll try to fill the gaps by developing the players in our farm,” Cha said bitterly.
This is the first time in 29 years that the team has won a championship since 1992. Even if Oh Ji-hwan’s free-agent contract gives the team more flexibility, the salary cap is bound to explode after they sign their own free agents like Im Chan-kyu and Ham Deok-ju, and get a pay raise from the championship. The team has already re-signed foreign players Austin Dean and Casey Kelly, who played a key role in winning the title this season.
Next year, they’re going for the title, but there’s a catch. It’s in the backfield. Aside from the “free agent duo” Park Dong-won and Heo Do-hwan, LG has no catchers with first-team experience.
Doosan selected Kim Ki-yeon, a military catcher. Doosan is hoping to find Yang’s successor by heating up the competition among the already established Jang Seung-hyun, Park Yoo-yeon and Jang Kyubin.
This year, Park Dong-won is 33 and Heo Do-hwan is 39. The average age was 36. Next year, they will be one year older.
There is a lot of anxiety to rely on only two players.
Other catchers such as Jeon Jun-ho, who is rated as a good defender, need to step up. By leaving Kim Ki-yeon out of the 35-man roster, 카지노사이트 the team is confident that there are players who can replace him.
Cha’s eyes are elsewhere. Kim Bum-seok is a rookie who has shown a lot of promise, even making the Korean Series roster. There have been speculations that he could be moved to first base or the outfield, but Cha insists that he is a catcher.
“In the end, Kim Bum-seok is a catcher. Catcher Kim Bum-seok is much more attractive than first base. Park Dong-won is the starter and Heo Do-hwan is the backup, but if you look at the future, Kim Bum-seok will wear the starter’s mask someday. Even from next year, if Park Dong-won has a day off, I hope Kim Bum-seok can help him out a bit more.”
LG selected pitcher Lee Jong-jun, an NC developmental player, in the third round, but passed on the first and second rounds. Cha cited “first-team mandatory registration restrictions” as the reason.
“Do we have players who can play in the first team? No, I thought not. We have a lot of good prospects in our second team, so we’ll focus on that.”