The 10 KBO League teams are preparing for the opening of the 2023 regular season by digesting overseas spring camps. After returning from spring camp and playing demonstration games, there may be reinforcement of power through recruitment or trade of non-FA contracts.
However, the drastic means of strengthening power, such as recruiting an external free agent, which heated up the early stages of the Stove League, has virtually disappeared. Large trades of key players rarely occur in the KBO league. The composition of the current team is virtually complete, and the 10 clubs are likely to play the season as it is.
The Samsung Lions, who fell from 2nd place in the 2021 regular season to 7th last year, are more concerned this year. Last year, the strength of the lower-ranking teams was remarkable, but Samsung did not, so the prospect of lower-ranking teams is being raised.
First of all, one of Samsung’s expectations is the leadership of new manager Park Jin-man. On August 1 of last year, Samsung coach Heo Sam-young voluntarily resigned, taking responsibility for the fall to 9th place. Acting manager Park Jin-man, who had worked for Samsung as a player and coach, took over the team and succeeded in rebounding by ranking 4th in the league during that period with a 28-22 win rate of 0.560 in 50 games.
Samsung did not succeed in advancing to the postseason due to serious team performance before acting manager Park Jin-man took over, but was praised for doing well. After the season, Samsung signed a formal contract with manager Park Jin-man. There is an expectation that this year is the first season coach Park Jin-man prepared from scratch.
However, there was no ‘gift’ of the club’s recruitment of an external free agent for the new head coach Park Jin-man. Rather안전놀이터, free agent infielders Kim Sang-soo and Oh Seon-jin transferred to KT Wiz and Hanwha Eagles, respectively, and could not avoid a power outflow. In particular, the departure of franchise star Kim Sang-soo, who entered the professional league after being nominated by Samsung in 2009, has been playing exclusively at Samsung. Right now, Samsung needs to fill Keystone with young players who have not been verified full-time.
Manager Park Jin-man is expected to re-appoint veteran closer Oh Seung-hwan. However, Oh Seung-hwan, who was born in 1982 and had a 40-year-old season last year, had poor detailed indicators with an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.726 and 7 blown saves (the most in the league).
If Oh Seung-hwan can’t overcome the ‘aging curve’, I wonder what the alternative to director Park Jin-man is. It is not desirable at all if you are driven to the unavoidable situation of replacing the finisher during the season. However, there is no alternative to Oh Seung-hwan, so it is a dilemma.
Sujin Ya has a similar problem. There is a large age gap as well as the skills of veteran starting fielders and young players. In the World Baseball Classic (WBC) team to be held in March, only right-handed ace Won Tae-in from Samsung was on board. This is the part that proves the weakness of Samsung Ya Su-jin.
For Samsung, starting pitcher Choi Chae-heung and bullpen pitcher Choi Ji-gwang will return from military service in June. However, with their return, the prevailing theory is that it is difficult for Samsung to transform into a team that guarantees fall baseball at once. This year, Samsung is in a difficult situation where it has to catch both rabbits: growth of promising players and team performance. Let’s pay attention to whether manager Park Jin-man will succeed in Samsung’s fall baseball in the first year of his tenure.