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otte and Hanwha have made a move, who is next?

Hanwha Eagles native ace Moon Dong-ju (20), who returned to Korea after the Asian Professional Baseball Championship on the 20th, said this. On this day, Moon Dong-joo's Hanwha signed a 4+2 year 7.2 billion won contract with infielder Ahn Chi-hong (33) in the 2023-2024 free agent market. He is a multi-infielder who has a career batting average of 0.297 and is a second baseman who can attack and defend as well as first base.

Although he is not young, he is by no means over his prime. Some talk about overpayment, but in any case, FA moves at the market price, not the appropriate price. Hanwha showed sincerity to Ahn Chi-hong through money and period, beating out his original team, the Lotte Giants. Other teams were also interested in Ahn Chi-hong, but Hanwha's will was so great.

Hanwha acquired Chae Eun-seong (6 years, 9 billion won), Lee Tae-yang (4 years, 2.5 billion won), and Oh Seon-jin (2 years, 400 million won) in the 2022-2023 free agent market. They even recruited Lee Myung-gi (100 million won per year) through a sign and trade. Nevertheless, the ranking rose one place to 9th place. Then, a year later, he moved again in the free agent market.

Hanwha greatly strengthened its free agents this season, but still felt keenly that its batting line was weak. The recruitment of Ahn Chi-hong has the effect of making up for the central infield's declining offensive power and creating tension in the infield as a whole. In this free agent market, up to two external free agents can be recruited. There is no law preventing Hanwha from making another attempt to recruit external free agents.

Lotte lost Ahn Chi-hong, but kept Jeon Jun-woo for 4 years and 4.7 billion won. It is said that holding on to one person and giving up the other weakens the power, but it is still possible to purchase two external FA cards. It remains to be seen whether new director Kim Tae-hyung will receive an exciting gift.

It is a virtue for lower-ranked teams to be noisy in the free agent market and winter trade market. Since we were unable to give joy to our fans during the season, it is our duty to give them hope even during the off-season. Internal competition and nurturing of prospects are the tasks of all 10 clubs. Clubs in the lower tier need to move quickly in the free agent market to increase their power in order to put tension on the teams in the upper tier as well.

So what about other lower ranked teams? What about 6th place KIA Tigers, 8th place Samsung Lions, and 10th place Kiwoom Heroes? There is a characteristic in this FA market that there are not many big catches. The remaining big player is Yang Seok-hwan, but it is unknown whether these teams will emerge victorious. It is natural for KIA, Samsung, and Kiwoom to start shopping for external free agents, considering their power alone. However, there are many factors to consider, such as salary cap and future power liquidity. At this point, it appears that these teams will not make any aggressive moves. 

Rather, many predict that the offseason will be exciting with the second draft to be held on the 22nd. SSG Landers has removed two immediate power players in their 30s from the 35-man protected player list, and there is widespread speculation that lower-tier teams will take them immediately as of the 2022 season. Because playing time must be guaranteed in the first team, it is natural to be interested in veterans with immediate potential rather than prospects with no average. There is no club that is free from performance.
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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

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