Thirty-nine years old at our age. There are three people who are burning the last flame in the twilight of their careers.
The representative player is Kiwoom Heroes outfielder Lee Yong-gyu (38). He is currently participating in Team Spring Camp in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Kiwoom’s Taiwanese camp is led by Seol Jong-jin, future team coach. The main players of the first team, such as Lee Jung-hoo and Ahn Woo-jin, trained in Arizona, USA. Because of that, there was a point of view that Yong-gyu Lee could not be listed on the first-team field training list.
Kiwoom is in the position that it was dualized according to the current situation of the players, not the 1st and 2nd teams. Athletes who need to quickly recover their sense of real combat are headed to Taiwan. However, considering the composition of the coaching staff and the list of players, first-team players such as Lee Yong-gyu, Choi Won-tae, and Song Seong-moon who are heading to Taiwan seem to need tension.
Lee Yong-kyu played in 86 games last season and recorded a batting average of 0.199, which was sluggish. For the first time since the 2004 season, he did not bat more than .200. He even handed over the captain’s armband to Lee Jung-hoo in the middle of the season. He also cut his annual salary from 400 million won to 300 million won.
In the 2023 season, Kiwoom was joined by Futures free agent (FA) Lee Hyung-jong. There is also Lim Byeong-wook, who returned from his service. At least, Edison Russell, who gave up on renewing the contract with Yasiel Puig and was recruited, is an infielder. Lee Yong-kyu must compete for the starting position.
NC Dinos outfielder Park Seok-min (39) accepted an unprecedented annual salary cut. He signed for 50 million won, down 93% from 700 million won in 2022. In January 2022, he renewed the contract for 2 + 1 years and a total of 3.4 billion won, and his contract ended at the end of last season, and the possibility of his retirement flowed out. However, the player expressed his will to return. He was suspended from a business trip due to a scandal for violating corona quarantine, and he could not avoid the aging curve. However, as a third baseman who represented the league, he wanted to reap the beauty of a pro baseball ‘player’ life. He did not play tug-of-war with the club over money.
Park Seok-min, who is currently digesting the Arizona camp, arranged a meal for his players, Chang-mo Koo, Gun-woo Park, and Yong-chan Lee, who are leaving for the WBC national team, and encouraged them with good words. He is a great disappointment, but he is Park Seok-min, who is known as a ‘good person’ among his seniors and juniors.
There is also veteran left-handed pitcher Won-Jun Jang (Doosan Bears), who was called “the epitome of consistency.” He is a pitcher who won 129 wins in his career and whose value was recognized with an 8.4 billion won free agent contract. However, he has not been able to achieve his name and ransom due to his injuries and poor performance from the 2019 season. 스포츠토토
However, he posted 6 holds and a 3.71 earned run average in 27 games out of the bullpen last season, showing potential for a comeback. New head coach Lee Seung-yeop believed in the so-called ‘best’ player’s record and put him in the first team camp list in Australia. He also gave the advice, “If you quit because you are pushed back, you will regret it for the rest of your life.” Currently, Jang Won-jun is digesting camp training in good condition. In the end, he will also work again with catcher Yang Eui-ui, who won 15 wins in 2016.
In addition to the three players, Doosan Kim Jae-ho (38), who has fallen short of expectations in the past two years as the league’s representative shortstop, and Hanwha Eagles bullpen pitcher Jeong Woo-ram, who only pitched in 23 games last season due to a bad shoulder condition, are also important this year.