‘Fire in the foot’ fell on the Hanwha outfielders. With the addition of veteran Lee Myeong-gi (36) with a career batting average of 30%, a real competition incomparable to the past two years unfolded.
On the 14th, Hanwha acquired FA outfielder Lee Myung-ki through a sign and trade. After the FA market opened in November of last year, Hanwha, which brought in Chae Eun-seong, Lee Tae-yang, and Oh Seon-jin, and filled the limit of three outside free agents, opened up the possibility of additional reinforcement through signing and trade. 메이저사이트
The target of recruitment was also an outfielder. Over the past two years, Hanwha has been in a vulnerable position in the outfield. 15 domestic players in 2021 and 13 domestic players in 2022 have been given countless opportunities over the past two years as outfielders, but none have been able to grab the starting position. I realized how high the wall of reality I had hit over the past two years was to turn the ‘circuit of hope’.
In the free agent market, he recruited hard hitter Chae Eun-seong and put out the urgent fire. Chae Eun-seong was first baseman for LG last year, but he is used to playing in the outfield as a right fielder. The foreign hitter changed from Mike Tuchman last year to Brian O’Grady this year, but the position remains the same in the outfield. Two positions were filled, but the remaining one position was not counted.
Hanwha general manager Sohn Hyuk applied for free agency at NC, but kept an eye on Lee Myung-ki and Kwon Hee-dong, who were in danger of losing their child. Without rushing, I saw the timing to bring him in for an appropriate price, and a signing & trade was made two weeks after the start of spring camp. Infielder Cho Hyun-jin and 2024 newcomer 7th round (61st overall) were given the right to be nominated, but catchers Lee Jae-yong and Lee Myung-ki were brought. With an annual salary of 50 million won and an option of 50 million won, he strengthened his outfield depth without spending a lot of money for up to 100 million won a year.
Existing outfielders Noh Soo-gwang, Jang Jin-hyeok, Jang Un-ho, Lee Jin-young, Lee Won-seok, and Yoo Sang-bin, who are training at the 1st team camp, are on fire. In the meantime, the remaining outfield space was opened as an internal competition space, but with the arrival of Lee Myung-gi, the competition became more intense. Hanwha coach Carlos Subero said, “Many young players have been given opportunities, but now is the time to prepare them to a competitive level within the league. The trade message is clear. He emphasized that only by winning through competition can you find your place.”
Lee Myung-gi, who made his first-team debut in SK (currently SSG) in 2008, boasts a batting average of 3.7% in his 13 seasons with KIA and NC. He shines in 10th among active players with 18th all-time career batting average based on 3000 or more at bats. He has four seasons with a batting average of .300 in regulation at bats and has twice won the Korean Series. In the summer of 2021, he was sluggish with a batting average of 2.6% last year, when his start was delayed due to a business trip suspension due to violation of the Corona 19 quarantine rules, but his contact skills and experience deserve to be said to be the best among Hanwha outfielders.
Right fielder Chae Eun-seong, center fielder O’Grady, and left fielder Lee Myung-ki could completely change the Hanwha outfield line. The premise follows that Lee Myung-gi should rebound. He said, “It was a situation where he could not have played baseball, but he found a team with difficulty. He is grateful to Hanwha and feels a great sense of responsibility to do well. He is grateful to play baseball in a uniform. He prioritizes creating a condition where he can go to the game rather than regretting the terms of the contract or thinking about his position. Competition has always been there, and Hanwha is no different. While playing baseball, his condition and situation are different every year, but he is confident that he will do well this year. He has to show his skills,” he said, confident of his resurrection.
Coach Subero expected the effect of joining Lee Myung-gi, saying, “I was impressed with the NC second hitter in 2021.” Lee Myung-gi recorded a career batting average of .329 and an on-base percentage of .391 in the second batting order. Last year, Hanwha ranked 10th in batting average (.219) in the second batting order, and 9th in on-base percentage (.325), which was at the bottom. If Lee Myung-gi rebounds, it can be the best card to fill the weaknesses of Hanwha’s other lineup. If there is a player who can beat Lee Myung-gi through goodwill competition among the existing outfielders, that is not too bad.