Ahead of the 2023 season, the Lotte Giants have significantly strengthened its power by recruiting catcher Yoo Kang-nam, infielder Noh Jin-hyuk, and submarine pitcher Han Hyun-hee in the FA market. With 17 billion won invested in the FA market alone, Lotte has been preparing for this season by making every effort to return to the baseball league in fall 2023. However, Lotte, which recorded 68 wins and 76 losses (winning rate of .472) in 144 regular league games, ranked seventh among the 10 teams and failed to advance to the autumn baseball league for six consecutive years since 2018.
Ahead of this season, Lotte appointed Kim Tae-hyung, the manager who led the Doosan Bears’ dynasty, as its 21st manager. Having struggled to make aggressive investments for two consecutive years, Ahn Chi-hong, who became an FA, transferred to the Hanwha Eagles. Analysts say that Lotte’s batting average this season is somewhat weaker than in 2023, when it ranked fifth in the team’s batting average (.265). In fact, without the growth of young players such as Na Seung-yeop, Han Dong-hee, and Ko Seung-min, Lotte can hardly expect to see a significant improvement in its offense from 2023.
In the end, Lotte has to bet on the mound this season, especially with the power of its starting lineup led by two foreign pitchers who have renewed their contracts and two national team pitchers who have been to the Hangzhou Asian Games. One encouraging fact for Lotte is that there are a number of five starting candidates in addition to the four who are Aaron Wilkerson, Charlie Barnes, Park Se-woong and Na Kyun-an. Among the many starting candidates, who will be selected as the fifth starting pitcher of the “giant corps” by head coach Kim Tae-hyung this season.
Han Hyun-hee, who became the hold king for two consecutive years in 2013 and 2014, is the best all-weather pitcher in the KBO League, with 11 wins and 10 holds and 11 wins as a starting pitcher in 2018. In fact, it is not as easy to find a pitcher who can freely move between a starter and a bullpen in the current league as Han Hyun-hee. Han Hyun-hee failed to show satisfactory performance with six wins, four losses and an ERA of 4.75 in the 2022 season ahead of the FA, but Lotte, where Lee In-bok left, invested a total of 4 billion won for four years in January 2023 to recruit Han Hyun-hee.
For Han, who was born in Busan and graduated from Kyungnam High School, Lotte is his hometown team. Hence, fans had high expectations that Han would be able to achieve good results at Lotte thanks to his “hometown buff.” However, Han’s return to his hometown team did not meet the expectations of the Lotte club and its fans. Having played in 38 games including 18 starts, Han disappointed the Lotte club and its fans with his disappointing performance of 6 wins, 12 losses and 3 holds 5.45. 월카지노주소
Of course, it is certainly commendable that he played more than 100 innings as he moved between starting and bullpen as the club wanted. In other words, however, Han did not become a regular starter in 2023 and did not play as a must-win group, only to wander until the end of the season. If the same disappointing performance as in 2023 continues this season, Han will be pushed out of manager Kim Tae-hyung’s mound plan.
Han signed an FA contract with Lotte for up to 4 billion won (3,3+1 year) ahead of the 2023 season, but the guaranteed amount is only 1.8 billion won (?). If Han’s slump continues this year, it means that unlike his title of “4 billion FA,” he could actually become a “failure-free FA.” Attention is focusing on whether Han, who once became the most defeated pitcher in the 2023 season from a submarine pitcher representing the league, will be able to make a comeback as a starting pitcher on the mound this season.