Lotte’s top fall spectator for 6 years, ‘Winning Hitman’ quenches thirst
Jeon Jun-woo, 38, the Lotte’s Giants’ longest-serving player, was a fall baseball spectator again this year. Lotte finished seventh in the regular season this year, missing out on fall baseball for the sixth straight year. The team hasn’t played in the postseason since 2017.
It’s been too long since I’ve felt the tension and excitement of fall baseball. To quench their thirst for fall baseball and the postseason, Lotte has hired a “winning coach,” Kim Tae-hyung.
Kim Tae-hyung began his official duties as Lotte manager with an inauguration ceremony on April 24. The inauguration ceremony was attended by prospective free agents Jeon Jun-woo and Ahn Chi-hong, 온라인카지노 as well as pitching staff members Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong.
Jun-woo Jeon, who is Lotte’s most senior staff member and lives in Busan, shared some advice on living in Busan, saying, “You have to be careful when you go around because you will be recognized by many people in Busan,” after having a brief tea time with Kim Tae-hyung before the ceremony.
“I don’t have a special relationship with Busan,” Kim Tae-hyung said, “I was very close to Lotte players during my playing days. When I came to Busan, I was excited because there was a beach. However, Busan is a neighborhood where you can post ‘I saw you somewhere’ when you move a little bit. It’s different because the fans are so passionate,” he laughed.
Lotte has completely abandoned its tradition of hiring novice managers and hired Kim Tae-hyung, a “championship hitter. He has advanced to the Korean Series for seven consecutive years and won the Korean Series three times. The contract size of 2.4 billion won ($600 million in down payment and $600 million in annual salary) for three years is also Lotte’s expectation of Kim Tae-hyung. In order for Lotte under Kim Tae-hyung to achieve better results, the team will eventually need to bolster its strength. When asked for his opinion on signing a free agent as an inauguration gift, Kim said, “It’s a matter for the CEO and the club to decide,” but he also said, “I told them that we need to sign a free agent.” “Of course, I would like to ask them to stay and help the team,” he said, adding that he strongly hopes they will stay.
Coach Kim Tae-hyung, who was aware of Jeon’s performance and presence in the squad, asked both Jeon and Ahn to stay. However, Jeon Jun-woo had other ideas. As he enters his second year of free agency, he wants to make sure his value is fully appreciated.
Jun-woo was first eligible for free agency at the end of the 2019 season, but he was undervalued by the market and stayed with Lotte for a relatively small four-year, 3.4 billion won deal. While he was willing to stay with Lotte, he was clearly disappointed with the size of the contract. As he was eligible for free agency for the second time this year, Jun-woo took care of his body last winter, including his diet, and it showed once again. In 138 games this year, Jeon batted .301 (154-for-493) with 17 home runs, 77 RBIs, 80 runs scored, and an OPS of .852. Despite being the oldest player on the roster, he has proven to be Lotte’s best hitter, producing as much as any of the younger players.
“It’s natural to get excited when you’re about to sign a free agent contract. I think there will be good results if I wait for the right time. I’m looking forward to it.”
He is also disappointed that he hasn’t played fall baseball for six years since 2017. That’s why the team brought in Kim Tae-hyung, a “championship hitter,” to quench their thirst for fall baseball and, more importantly, championships. “Winning is not as easy as it sounds, but it is possible if the players work together. When I was a rookie manager, I said that I wanted to win the championship without fear, and I will say it here as well,” he said. “I hope the players will also have that goal and be prepared. The first goal is the postseason, and then the championship,” he said strongly.
In response, Jeon Jun-woo said, “I’ve had a lot of coaches, but you seem to have a clear goal, and I think it’s good that you’re confident because you’ve had so much experience.” For Jun-woo, winning a championship will be an important factor in securing a free agent contract. He said, “As a player, the goal of winning a championship is definitely in my head. Whether I sign with Lotte or another team, it’s obvious. It would be great to win a championship,” he said, adding, “I envy the players who are playing in the postseason right now, and it would be great to play with them in the fall.”
Especially when you look at Son Ah-seop (35), who played for NC until two years ago and is back in the postseason this year. “I watch him when he comes on,” says Jeon. I’m in touch with him every day and he seems to be doing well,” he laughs. “I haven’t played too much fall baseball,” he said, adding, “If I go to the playoffs, KT has Hwang Jae-gyun. There are two of my favorite younger brothers, so I’m going to go see them once, whether it’s Suwon or Changwon. I think it will be fun.”
The envy and thirst for fall baseball and winning were evident in his words. It will be interesting to see how the presence of Kim Tae-hyung will affect free agent signings. Lotte wants to play fall baseball and win, and Jeon Jun-woo wants to win. Will Kim Tae-hyung be able to make them both happy? How will the presence of Kim Tae-hyung affect free agent contracts?