FA catcher Kim Min-sik, who failed to reach an agreement with SSG Landers even after the year passed, is at a disadvantage.

SSG acquired Lee Ji-young, an FA catcher who signed a two-year contract (350 million won per year, 50 million won option) with the Kiwoom Heroes in a trade on Wednesday. The team then gave Kiwoom a third-round pick of the 2025 rookie draft along with 250 million won in cash.

SSG sought the trade to reinforce the catcher’s lineup and stabilize the pitcher’s lineup. It is also hoped that Lee, who has 16 years of exemplary playing and excellent skills, will lead the team’s pitching staff and serve as a good mentor to the young catcher’s team.

“We started discussions with Lee about 10 days ago. He was very proactive,” SSG General Manager Kim Jae-hyun said. “Just because a player appeals doesn’t necessarily mean that we recruit him. Obviously, he judged that he was a necessary player for the team, and Lee received quite high marks in terms of both his skills and personality. I thought that young players need to learn something from Lee Ji-young in order to grow up.”

The SSG, which made major changes at the end of last season, reorganized its coaching staff in the first and second divisions, and will see its new head coach Lee Sung-yong take the helm. On top of that, the team is also making changes, and what stood out the most was strengthening its home turf.

Through the second draft on Nov. 22 last year, SSG acquired Park Dae-on (first-round pick, former NC Dinos) and Shin Bum-soo (third-round pick, former KIA Tigers). It even acquired two catcher resources, demonstrating its strong commitment to strengthening its power. “Internal review, the most necessary part was catcher position. We examined the second draft list and identified good catcher resources, and established a round-by-round strategy to recruit two catcher resources with the aim of strengthening catcher’s depth. I am satisfied by selecting the players that I targeted,” SSG said at the time.

Park Dae-on has played in 259 games in his professional league, recording 77 hits in 364 at-bats for a batting average of 0.212 with two homers and 23 RBIs and an OPS of 0.519. Last season, he consistently performed as a backup catcher by recording eight hits in 28 at-bats for a batting average of 0.286 with three RBIs and an OPS of 0.757. However, he was excluded from the list of protected players as he failed to survive fierce competition among Kim Hyung-joon, Park Se-hyuk, and Ahn Jung-yeol.

Shin Bum-soo, who was called by SSG in the third round, was sluggish in the 2023 season with a batting average of 15 for 88 in 36 games with a batting average of 0.170 with two homers and 10 RBIs, with a batting average of 31 for 173 in 96 games. Although KIA, which suffered from catcher difficulties, found the growth of young catchers such as Han Jun-su, it was not easy to tie up all the players. SSG, which needed at least one more catcher who could be used in the first division right now, did not miss that Shin was excluded from the list.헤라카지노

“Park Dae-on was designated as a first-team resource in order to reinforce his most urgent catcher Debs next season,” SSG said. “He has extensive experience in the first team, and he has excellent combination of pitcher leads and balls, as well as ability to block and throw to second base.” “He is a player who does not deteriorate significantly in batting, and I judged that he has no shortage as a backup catcher for the first team,” he said. “He is a catcher with experience in the first team and can be used as a backup catcher for the 2024 season. As a young player, he has room for further development if he gains experience.”

The wind of change did not stop there. SSG additionally notified some players of their contract not to be renewed two days later, on Nov. 24, when veteran catcher Lee Jae-won asked the club to release him.

Lee Jae-won, who joined the SK Wyverns in 2006 as the first player and played for the same team for 18 years until last year, has maintained the home turf of the SSG since 2014 when he became the starting catcher. His overall record in the first division is 1,087 hits in 4,471 times at bat in 1,426 games with a batting average of 0.278 with 108 homers and 612 RBIs.

After achieving double-digit home runs for three consecutive years between 2014 and 2016, Lee Jae-won showed his presence by recording 134 hits in 407 at-bats for 130 games in 2018 with a batting average of 0.329 17 home runs and 57 RBIs. In the Korean Series that year, he also contributed greatly to the team’s rise to the top of the Korean Series for the first time in eight years, including 6 hits in 25 at-bats with a batting average of 0.240 with one home run and two RBIs. After the end of the 2018 season, he obtained a FA qualification and signed a four-year total of 6.9 billion won (down payment of 2.1 billion won, annual salary of 4.8 billion won) with SK.

In 2019 alone, Lee Jae-won, who remained consistent with 121 hits in 139 games and 451 hits in a batting average of 0.268 with 12 home runs and 75 RBIs, continued to suffer from sluggishness from the following year. Although he seemed to succeed in rebounding in 2021, he failed to turn around to 47 hits in 234 at-bats in 105 games in 2022 with 0.201 4 homers and 28 RBIs, and 4 hits in 44 at-bats in 27 games last season. Lee Jae-won, who naturally has a smaller share of the team, is facing a new start at the Hanwha Eagles, which has reached out to him.

Now the issue was negotiations with FA Kim Min-sik. In November last year, only two catchers were Lee Ji-young and Kim Min-sik, who were on the FA list. The catchers still have high value and both have experience as starting pitchers.

Kim Min-sik, who entered the professional stage as the 11th pick in the second round of the 2012 Rookie Draft SK (currently SSG), first entered the first division in 2015 and received many opportunities from the following year. In the early 2017 season, he was traded to the KIA Tigers and played as the main catcher, contributing to his team’s victory in the Korean Series.

After failing to produce any significant performance for four years, he returned to his former team in a 1:2 trade in May 2022. Lee Jae-won and Lee Heung-ryeon (retired) were not without catcher resources, but SSG needed a catcher to play many innings. In a cool manner, Kim Min-sik did his part by taking charge of the home turf throughout the season, although he did not meet expectations in batting.

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