What about Seo Gun-chang, the ‘4th free agent’?
The situation in the KIA Tigers’ infield is not optimistic. Park Chan-ho is rehabbing from a comminuted collarbone fracture, and Hwang Dae-in had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow after the season. Kim Do-young was diagnosed with a torn medial collateral ligament and avulsion fracture of his left thumb’s metacarpophalangeal joint in the top of the 10th inning of the extra innings of the Asian Professional Baseball Championship final.
After undergoing surgery and rehabilitation, the infield trio is expected to be ready for the opening game of the 2024 season on March 23. However, the risk is that their rehabilitation could reduce the amount of work they need to do to prepare for the season. If they don’t have a full spring training, they’ll have a hard time making it through the season.
Moreover, Kim is a free agent. KIA is negotiating to keep him, but it will take some time to close the gap. To minimize this risk, KIA has prepared a Plan B, including Lee Woo-sung playing first base in the Okinawa tournament 아톰카지노.
Infielder Park Min, who was discharged from the commercial service, continues to gain experience with the Canberra Cavaliers of the Australian Professional Baseball League. The existing infield backups, such as Kim Kyu-sung and Hong Jong-pyo, will also need to step up. However, there are some “value-added cards” that can be used to strengthen the infield.
Kang Kang-ul, who can play multiple positions, mainly shortstop, is a C-rated free agent. There’s also Seo Gun-chang, who was released by the LG Twins. Seo has the edge in terms of cost-effectiveness. He doesn’t have a compensatory player, but he has to pay 150% of his salary this season ($225 million) to his original club, the Samsung Lions. Not to mention Kim Min-seong, who is in free agency.
On the other hand, the team that takes Seo Gun-chang will only have to sign him to a regular contract. His salary this season is 200 million won. He’s been underperforming for the past three years in a row, so it’s only natural that he’ll be dropping down to the minimum salary level. As such, signing Seo won’t be a burden on the clubs.
It would not be a bad idea for KIIA to sign him as an insurance policy to overcome and alleviate various risks in the infield. Of course, Seo is less burdensome than Kang Wool and Kim Min-sung, but he also has a weakness of not being able to play multiple positions. He’s almost exclusively a second baseman, and if KIA retains Kim Sun-bin, Seo’s versatility will be greatly reduced.
Still, the 34-year-old infielder, a former 201-hit MVP, is on the free agent market and will likely receive some interest from teams. The best part is that he’s still capable of producing MVP-level numbers if he can figure out how to hit.
The 2024 KIA will be different. There are a lot of question marks in the infield and some players who could leave in free agency. We don’t know if they’ll actually pursue Seo or not. What is clear is that he’s a player that several teams would be interested in, including KIA.