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SSG Landers immediately put two veteran players in their 30s on the second draft market. The decision was made in consideration of salary cap (total annual salary cap) and generational change.
The second draft, which was revived after four years, will be held on the 22nd. The second draft was introduced to promote the equalization of each team's power and to give more opportunities to candidates.
Ten teams have already been handed a list of protected players who cannot be selected in the draft. However, club officials are somewhat surprised to receive SSG's protection list. This is because two veterans of the first division were excluded at once.
Veteran A, who played as a mainstay this season, will be able to play full time in the first team next season. Another B was also sluggish this season, but his career so far is an outstanding resource. Some are concerned about making such a decision without providing alternative resources if both players leave.
SSG's removal of two veterans from the list of protected players is an extension of the generational shift. SSG fired former coach Kim Won-hyung last month. He broke up with the head coach who won the 2022 integration and led the third place in the regular season this season. The club said, "The decision was made based on the judgment that changes and innovations were needed, such as overall team management and generational change of players."
An official from the C club said, "As SSG excluded veterans from the list of protected players, it once again announced the cause and necessity of generational change," and interpreted it as a strategic choice.
There is also a view that it is a preliminary measure considering the salary cap system. An official from the D team analyzed, "SSG seems to have made this decision because it felt burdened by the salary tab limit." The salary cap set by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) for three years from 2023 to 2025 is 11.4 billion won. If you exceed one time, 50% of the excess will be imposed. If the penalty is exceeded for the second consecutive time, 100% sanctions and the right to nominate in the first round of the next year will fall by nine notches.
SSG strategically signed contracts for fear of exceeding salary cap even before the system was implemented. He tried to avoid exceeding the salary cap by signing a multi-year contract with the main player or focusing his down payment or annual salary on a specific season. This is why he signed a four-year FA (free agent) contract with Kim Kwang-hyun, giving him 8.1 billion won, more than half of the total amount in 2022 alone.
SSG's total annual salary of 54 players in the 2023 season was 9.482 billion won, close to the salary cap. The size of the annual salary may increase further due to additional payments depending on whether or not options are achieved.
If two veterans leave with the nomination of other clubs in the second draft, SSG can reduce the team's annual salary by more than 1 billion won next season. There will also be room for investment to recruit FA in a year or two.
An official from the SSG club said, "We have notified the player. Rumors have spread in the baseball world, and the players will know all about it, but I also explained why the club had no choice but to make such a choice," he said.
Thursday, November 16, 2023