The sweat shed in winter determines the season’s performance.
As shown in the popular drama ‘Stove League’, which aired three years ago, professional baseball is a period of preparation for the next season after the 7-month season ends. It selects new players, finalizes annual salary contracts with existing players, recruits free agents, and renews or replaces foreign players. The team releases players who have lost competitiveness and accepts new players.
After this process is over, it is time to quench.
They train to strengthen their defense or offense, which were lacking last season, and pitchers refine new pitches or change positions. The competition between the newly recruited players and the existing players also flares up from this time. The 10 teams are currently in the middle of spring camp. They set up camps in warm places such as the United States, Japan, Guam, and Australia, and are sweating hard for better results in the new season.
In particular, six teams, including KIA and kt, are gathering in the vicinity of Arizona, USA, where training facilities are well-equipped, and are undergoing field training. For this reason, the WBC national team, which starts next month, 안전놀이터 also set up a camp here, where it is easy for players to join.
The busiest command tower this winter is kt coach Lee Kang-cheol.
To take care of the camp of his team or to take care of the WBC national team, even two bodies are not enough. Coach Lee, who led the team camp in Arizona, left the team on the 16th, taking over the managerial duties of the WBC national team.
Coach Lee said, “Our team’s power is fixed, and now we have to focus on the national team, so we planned a new season in advance. If there is no change, Benjamin will appear in the opening game.” Director Lee also drew attention by saying that he would use Kang Baek-ho as the designated hitter. It’s good to have the league’s best starting lineup, but I’m worried about how to manage it, and it’s complicated in my head to achieve good results for both the team and the WBC national team.
The team that received the most attention in the FA market this winter is the Lotte Giants, which finished in 8th place last year.
Kang-Nam Yoo from LG and Jin-Hyuk Noh from NC were recruited for catcher and shortstop positions, which were weak spots, and a number of A-class players were recruited, including pitcher Han Hyun-hee, who could be selected from Kiwoom. Lotte, who failed to play fall baseball for five consecutive years after finishing third in 2017, is preparing for a rebound by making large-scale investments ahead of this season. It is evaluated that if a few promising players such as Kim Jin-wook and Seo Jun-won grow, they will be able to aim for the top 5. Lotte completed the first camp in Guam and moved to Okinawa, Japan, to hold the second camp. The elite members selected in the 1st camp will have a final training session and will have a practice match with the Japanese professional 2nd team.
Unlike Lotte, NC’s Arizona training ground, which is concerned about the absence of key players, is also drawing attention.
NC has completed reinforcements to the extent of recruiting Park Se-eul from Doosan instead of catcher Eui-ji Yang and shortstop Jin-hyeok Noh, who were the main players in the championship. Among the four players involved in the drinking scandal, Kwon Hee-dong has not signed a contract after the FA declaration, Park Seok-min’s salary was drastically cut, and Lee Myung-gi moved the team. Only Park Min-woo paid for his name by signing a multi-year contract.
Existing players are desperately needed. Infielder Park Min-woo, the team’s franchise star, and Son Ah-seop, Park Kun-woo, who were recruited as free agents, need a rebound. The shoulders of Kim Joo-won, who should be the starting shortstop, are also heavy. In particular, after finishing last season, Park Min-woo signed a super-large free agent contract worth up to 14 billion won for 8 years (5+3 years), the longest contract period ever, and became the team’s flagship player. As Na Seong-beom last year and Yang Eui-ji this year left NC, Park Min-woo and Koo Chang-mo are in a situation where they have to hold the center in pitching.
There are also clubs that the owners are showing a lot of interest in.
On the 11th, Vice Chairman Jeong Yong-jin of Shinsegae Group, owner of last year’s winning team SSG, visited a training ground in Florida and encouraged the team. “Last year (after confirming the combined championship), I said that I was the most happy to be the first place in the home crowd,” he said, “this year again, the most greedy title is the first place in the home crowd.” Vice-Chairman Chung said, “The situation is similar to last year,” and he is expecting a good chance for a second consecutive victory.
Park Jeong-won, owner of Doosan, also has a lot of affection for the baseball team.
Owner Park, who had personally recruited new coach Lee Seung-yeop, visited Doosan Spring Camp in Sydney, Australia on the 13th to encourage Lee and the team. After a disappointing season with a shocking 9th place last year, Doosan announced a rebuilding of the famous family by signing manager Lee Seung-yeop and Yang Eui-ji as the owner of Park.
Owner Park Jeong-won said, “Please forget about the past season and do your best with a new resolution with the newly appointed head coach Lee Seung-yeop. I hope you do not disappoint the fans and play impressive baseball like the Bears.”