Wednesday, 24th April 2024

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“They’re asking for catchers here and there.” I can’t believe they’re asking for a trade… KIA’s home room is full

The Kia Tigers had a hard time hearing such a comment just a year ago. The team had been struggling with catcher risks for several years and sought to trade catcher here and there. Now, the team is being asked to trade catcher upside down after the 2023 season. This means that the catcher’s depth has grown that much. Catcher risks have become an old saying.

Shim Jae-hak, the general manager, watched the catchers’ training at the Okinawa closing camp in November and laughed, saying, “They ask for our catchers here and there. Our catchers are popular these days.” He added, “I couldn’t respond because our team still has to look at the future and thicken the depth of the catchers.” 스포츠토토

KIA has been struggling to find its main catcher for the past two years. Early in the 2022 season, Kia recruited Kiwoom catcher Park Dong-won. He endured a massive bleeding that gave Kim Tae-jin, 1 billion won in cash, and a right to name a rookie in the second round. Park Dong-won helped advance to the round of five, but after the season ended, he became an FA and signed a contract of 6.5 billion won with the LG Twins.

When it was clear that Park Dong-won was leaked, he recruited Joo Hyo-sang through negotiations with Kiwoom again. He handed over the right to name a rookie in the second round. He entered the 2023 season under the leadership of Han Seung-taek and Joo Hyo-sang, but his defense was shaken due to poor batting performance in the 100 percent range. They all disappeared from the first division due to injuries. They called up Futures team catchers Shin Bum-soo and Kim Sun-woo to hold out.

Seogwang began to shine from the end of June. Han Jun-su, the 2018 first wanted catcher who came back after losing 20 kilograms after being discharged from the military, received a call-up. He marked the beginning as a rising star. When Shin Bum-soo and Kim Sun-woo joined the main league, they consistently played as Futures catcher, outstanding in both defense and hitting. After being promoted to the main league on June 25, he wore a starting mask at a game against SSG Landers and Incheon on July 5, and made his name through three hits including a home run and a double and three RBIs.

Through negotiations with the Samsung Lions, Kia made a trade on the day to give Ryu Ji-hyuk to its infielder and recruit Kim Tae-gun, a veteran catcher. Kim played his part in the offense and defense. Han also showed presence in offense and defense and remained as the second catcher until the end of the season. The Kim Tae-gun and Han Jun-su systems have taken root anew. KIA signed a multi-year contract with Kim Tae-gun for three years and 2.5 billion won (2.3 million U.S. dollars). This eliminated its catcher’s risk.

It did not stop there. KIA nominated Lee Sang-joon, a key catcher at Gyeonggi High School, for the third round at the 2024 Rookie Draft. Lee Sang-joon displayed powerful and powerful slugging capability by hitting the top of the back screen in the closing camp of Okinawa. He also nervous seniors in defense with his stable catch and bullet pitching. He reserved a key catcher of the future. Kwon Hyuk-kyung, who joined the military as an active duty player, will be discharged from the military in January and return to the military. He led the team’s 2-0 shutout in his debut match in the 2021 season.

Shin Bum-soo left the team after being drafted by SSG in the second draft during the closing camp, but his catcher Debs has grown stronger as Han Seung-taek and Joo Hyo-sang are holding out. Starting next year, fierce competition is expected for the starting lineup of the first division. Han Jun-su, who has upgraded his skills at the closing camp to one level after experiencing in the first division, is also targeting the starting lineup. Catchers are also expected to stage fierce competition for the backup position. It is hard to call it a “catcher kingdom” just yet. Young catchers need to grow further. However, concerns over catchers have clearly disappeared.

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