SSG Landers signed non-free agent (FA) multi-year contracts with three key players after completing the 2021 season. It was the first case in the KBO League where a player who did not qualify as a free agent signed a multi-year contract. SSG made pitchers Moon Seung-won (34), Park Jong-hoon (32) and outfielder Han Yu-seom (34) its first protagonists. All three of these players were one year away from obtaining FA qualifications, but chose to stay due to the strong trust they received from SSG.
The reason SSG caught them early was clear. In the five years prior to signing the contract, Park Jong-hoon had three double-digit wins in a season (2017, 2018, and 2020), and Moon Seung-won was a starting pitcher who averaged 150 innings over four seasons starting in 2017. Han Yu-seom was a slugger who could not only hit double-digit home runs but also hit around 100 RBIs in the team’s batting lineup along with Choi Jeong.
The trust SSG has in them is very strong. When Park Jong-hoon and Moon Seung-won signed multi-year contracts, they were concentrating on rehabilitation training after undergoing elbow ligament joint surgery. Last year, Hanyuseom took on the responsibility of both captain and fourth hitter. Nevertheless, in 135 games, he lived up to expectations with a batting average of 0.264, OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.850, 21 home runs, and 100 RBI.
The expectations for them this season were different from usual. It was the first full season for Park Jong-hoon and Moon Seung-won after injuries, and Han Yu-seom served as captain for two consecutive seasons following last year. However, contrary to expectations, all three fell below expectations. Among them, Park Jong-hoon, whose slump was prolonged, only had 2 wins and 6 losses and an earned run average (ERA) of 6.08 in 17 games, and Hanyu Island also performed poorly with a batting average of 0.246, OPS of 0.668, 5 home runs, and 37 RBIs in 89 games.
Still, until June, when SSG consistently exceeded .500 in monthly win rate, their slump became less noticeable because they had the power to make up for their sluggish performance. However, as SSG went downhill starting in July, it had no choice but to become more prominent. Since the pillar was not strong, the team also faced limitations in its ability to continue holding on. On the mound, the bullpen was exhausted from filling in for the starters, and the batting lineup, which had lost weight, suffered from a series of low scores.메이저놀이터
SSG is now fighting a precarious battle for 5th place. Their performance is desperately needed. The match against Hanwha Eagles in Daejeon on the 19th was an encouraging game. Seung-won Moon became the winning pitcher with a comeback pitch, allowing 3 runs in 8 innings, and Han Yu-seom led the team to a 5-3 victory with 2 hits in 5 at-bats, including the winning hit. If Park Jong-hoon, who has decided to help out in the bullpen for the remainder of the season, can ease the burden on tired pitchers such as Noh Kyeong-eun and Ko Hyo-jun, SSG could have some breathing room.