Inevitable fall to the bottom of professional baseball Kiwoom who pressed the ‘tanking’ button
The’Choi Won-tae trade’ agreed upon by Kiwoom Heroes and LG Twins on the 29th of last month was an event that determined the fate of Kiwoom for the 2023 season. The “tanking” (an operation in which season results are given up for the sake of a higher order in the future draft), which can only be seen in the American professional baseball Major League (MLB), came out in the KBO League as well.
Kiwoom, who had given away Choi Won-tae, the best ‘20-year-old military draftee domestic selection’ in the league, and received infielder Lee Joo-hyung and pitcher Kim Dong-gyu, the first round of the 2024 rookie draft, began preparing for the future in earnest. Ko Hyeong-wook, general manager of Kiwoom Kiwoom, admitted that he had actually pressed the ‘tanking button’ by saying, “I prepared in my own way to conquer the summit, but I did not live up to my expectations.
In fact, after the trade, Kiwoom shows an operating policy of not dwelling on immediate results. Ace Ahn Woo-jin was given an additional break, and Kim Dong-gyu, a rookie with little experience, was put on the starting mound against Jamsil LG on the 13th. After trading Choi Won-tae, Kiwoom’s performance plummeted to 1 win 13 losses and a win rate of 0.071, falling to the bottom of the league. Considering that there is no significant power rebound factor, it is highly likely that it will be at the bottom of the league for the first time in 12 years since 2011 and for the second time since its foundation.
Kiwoom in the 2023 season was twisted from one to ten. Kiwoom, who was treated as a ‘hidden protagonist’ even after finishing runner-up in the Korean Series by directing a long-lasting game in the postseason last year, declared that he would challenge for the championship this year, the last season Lee Jung-hoo plays in the KBO League. Bullpen pitcher Won Jong-hyun signed a 4-year, 2.5 billion won contract to become the first pitcher outside free agent in the club’s history, and outfielder Lee Hyeong-jong signed a 4-year, 2 billion won free agent contract with Futures.
However, the ambitious external recruiting practically failed, with Won Jong-hyun ending the season due to an injury and Lee Hyung-jong not performing as well as expected. Eric Yokishi, a long-serving foreign pitcher, left the team due to an injury, and Addison Russell, a foreign hitter who wore a Kiwoom uniform again after three years, also suffered from an injury. 토토 Amidst the injuries and sluggishness of the powers he believed in, Kiwoom had no choice but to raise the white flag when Lee Jung-hoo was on the operating table for ankle surgery.
The reason why Kiwoom was able to make such a decision in the KBO League, where major league-style ‘rebuilding’ is realistically difficult, is the extension of the 5-year naming sponsorship contract with Kiwoom Securities earlier this year. Kiwoom, which signed a five-year main sponsorship contract with Kiwoom Securities in 2019, signed a five-year, up to 69.5 billion won contract prior to the start of this season, the last year of the contract.
From Kiwoom’s point of view, where the main sponsor contract accounts for the largest part of the club’s income, it was a ‘God’s move’ to gain time by extending the contract early. Kiwoom took on the difficult task of completing the rebuilding work before the contract with Kiwoom Securities ended. If Kiwoom, which has leaped into an emerging powerhouse since the mid-2010s, fails to overcome this crisis and spends two to three years in the lower ranks, it may face a situation where it has to worry about the existence of the club.
Kiwoom, who chose ‘tanking’ for the future, must show hope to fans. Even if it is difficult to show many victories this season right now, fans will visit the baseball field only when they instill hope that it will be different next year. No matter how much they choose the future, Kiwoom’s recent performance is embarrassing to the fans who paid the admission fee and visited the stadium. Kiwoom’s team ERA since the 29th of last month was 7.23, the mound completely collapsed, and the team’s OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) was 0.641, which is the last in the league. At least, it is comforting that Lee Joo-hyung is showing potential with a batting average of 0.345, 2 homers and 9 RBIs after the transfer.