A player who set a record that came out only four times in the KBO league came under the radar of the Hanwha Eagles, who were aiming to ‘strengthen catcher’.
On the 14th, Hanwha announced that it had carried out a 2-2 trade with the NC Dinos to recruit outfielder Lee Myung-ki (36) and catcher Lee Jae-yong (24). As a counterweight, Hanwha gave infielder Cho Hyun-jin (21) and the right to nominate in the 7th round of the 2024 rookie draft.
The most noteworthy is Lee Myung-ki, a veteran player. After applying for a free agent (FA), he had not heard of a contract for more than two months, and eventually found a new team through a sign-and-trade method after spring camp started.
However, the player Hanwha is paying attention to is Lee Jae-yong. Lee Jae-yong, who joined the NC after graduating from Jayangjung-Baejae High School in 2017, was recognized for his potential by accompanying the 1st team spring camp from his first year.
Lee Jae-yong, who chose to enlist in the military during the 2018 season, returned in 2020. In the presence of immovable master Yang Eui-ji (36, Doosan), he was not called up to the first team stage for four years until 2021 and had to wait.
Then, Lee Jae-yong planted a snow stamp by participating in 8 exhibition games last year. Then, back-up number 1 Park Dae-on (28) was injured and was called up to the first team for the first time since his debut in early May. In the match against Changwon LG on May 6, he played as a big defense, and hit the first pitch in his first at-bat at the end of the 5th inning and hit a two-run home run.
This was the 19th KBO League history and the team’s second debut first at-bat home run since Christian Betancourt in 2019. In addition, he became the fourth player to record a home run in his debut at-bat following Jim Tatum (LG) in 2000, Song Won-guk (Doosan) in 2001, and Kim Tae-yeon (Hanwha) in 2017.
Although he wrote an impactful record, Lee Jae-yong could not rise to the first team until the end of the season after the entry was canceled on May 25th. Last year in the Futures League, he recorded a batting average of 0.130, 0 home runs and 8 RBIs in 30 games. 안전놀이터
It is known that Hanwha brought up Lee Jae-yong’s name first in the process of this trade. Lim Seon-nam, NC general manager, explained to Star News, “This is a player Hanwha proposed in anticipation of reinforcing the catcher.”
Hanwha needs a backup catcher to support its immovable main catcher Choi Jae-hoon (35). Lee Jae-yong is expected to compete for entry into the first team with players such as Heo Gwan-hoe (24) and Park Sang-eon (26), who recently received opportunities in the first team.
Hanwha general manager Son Hyuk said, “After Huh In-seo’s enlistment in the military, the number of catchers has decreased, and if unexpected situations such as injuries occur, it will be difficult to play the season, so (trade) was made while discussing the catcher trade.” It is advantageous to have a thick depth because it helps the team.” Hanwha coach Carlos Subero said through the club, “I am very satisfied because the position has been filled by the joining of a young military scribe catcher, and internal competition is possible.”
Meanwhile, Lee Jae-yong was preparing for the season at the NC Futures Camp held at Masan Baseball Stadium until recently. According to the Hanwha team, Lee Jae-yong is scheduled to join Hanwha’s Futures field training in Kochi, Japan.