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Im Changmin and Kim Jaeyoon

With less than a month until the opening of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), each team is in the midst of final quenching in overseas markets. Lim Chang-min (38) and Kim Jae-yoon (33), who joined the Samsung Lions to strengthen their bullpen, are also sweating along with their new teammates.

Samsung has successfully strengthened its bullpen, which was considered the biggest weakness last season, by aggressively using external blood transfusions. Samsung caught Kim Jae-yoon and Lim Chang-min, former closer pitchers of the KT Wiz and Kiwoom Heroes, in the free agent market, and brought in Choi Seong-hoon (34) and Yang Hyun (31) through the second draft.

After going through a slump for a while, veteran Lim Chang-min made a comeback last season with two wins, two losses and 26 saves (6th) and an earned run average of 2.51 in the previous season. Then, Samsung's radar network tried to strengthen its bullpen, and after persistent courtship, Samsung put on a blue uniform.

"Samsung has been contacting me the most," Lim Chang-min said at a training camp in Okinawa, Japan. "Samsung manager Lee Jong-yeol asked me to give him some time instead of deciding what to do first," he said. "I chose Samsung because I thought it was right to go to the place where I needed to go the most."

Oh Seung-hwan (41) has been keeping the back door of the Samsung Lions for a long time. He suffered a slump last season and was told that he would not be able to defy his age, but he revived in the second half of the season to post four wins, five losses, 30 saves (third place) and an ERA of 3.45. If Lim is to take the finishing position, he should overcome Oh Seung-hwan first.

"Even if we compete together, we won't be able to finish the race," Lim said. "Oh Seung-hwan is too big. I dare not use the term 'competition' to describe the profitability of competition." Lim believes that he will play a role as a link between starting pitcher and finishing pitcher. As he has more experience, he also fits well with the role of a bullpen pitcher.

Im Chang-min is proactively dealing with batters. He focuses on faster competition rather than trying not to hit the batter. He throws balls like "Let's get hit quickly," and "Let's give a one-run homerun rather than a two or three-run homerun or a grand slam." "My personal goal is just self-satisfaction, which doesn't mean much to me, if I become a senior to Oh Seung-hwan. My goal is for my team to play Autumn Baseball."

Kim Jae-yoon is also considered a candidate for the closing pitcher of Samsung. As a top-rated closing pitcher in the league, Kim also had five wins, five losses, 32 saves (2nd) and a 2.60 ERA last season. In terms of save records, pitchers ranked second, third and sixth in the league play on one team.

"Yang Hyun, Chang Min, and Choi Sung Hoon are all next to me, and they all have great pace and body," Kim Jae-yoon said. "I think my body condition has improved a little faster than usual as I tried to match it. I'm not conscious of the competition to finish."

Kim's hope is the same as that of Lim Chang-min. He wants to play for one season without any injuries, but his bigger goal is to help Samsung play fall baseball. "I will play fall baseball. I think that's what Samsung fans want the most," Kim said. "I will do my best to wear a jumper and watch baseball."
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Sunday, March 3, 2024
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