Catcher Kim Tae-gun’s move to the KIA Tigers is similar to what we’ve seen at the Major League Baseball trade deadline. Players from lower-ranked teams who are eligible for free agency at the end of this season have moved to postseason contenders. The only difference is that the Samsung Lions didn’t get a prospect, but an instant powerhouse infielder, Ryu Ji-hyuk.
Only time will tell if the trade is a success, but Kim Tae-gun is a definite plus for KIA. Since Kim’s arrival, the team has won three straight games against SSG. Although they only moved up one spot from ninth to eighth, they now trail the NC Dinos and Lotte Giants by 3.0 games. They are also just 4.0 games behind third-place Doosan.
KIA has been bleeding heavily to acquire a starting catcher. It acquired Park Dong-won (LG) from the Kiwoom Heroes for infielder Kim Tae-jin, 1 billion won in cash and a second-round pick. After failing to sign Park to a non-free agent multi-year contract, they spent another second-round pick to acquire Joo Hyo-sang. On top of that, free agent negotiations with Park Dong-won fell apart. In total, the team spent two players, two second-round picks, and 1 billion won to acquire Kim Tae-gun.
But what if the team misses out on Kim again? The repercussions could be severe enough to alter their development plans. It’s also worth noting that Kim is one of the few catchers who will be a free agent after this season. While we don’t know of any concrete moves yet, it’s possible that the team could sign Kim to a non-free agent multi-year deal before he hits the market.
In the meantime, Kim has adapted so well to his new team that it’s almost as if he’s always been a KIA player. At the plate, he has hit safely in three straight games, contributing to the winning streak. Most importantly, KIA has been in need of a catcher who can commit to a full season, so it makes sense to keep him around for a long time.메이저사이트
It’s up to Kia to decide whether a non-free agent multi-year deal will work or wait and see what happens in the free agent market, but Kia hasn’t had a smooth negotiation process with free agents in recent years, including Park Dong-won’s move to LG, which sparked a “pay-to-play” scandal. Ahn Chi-hong moved to Lotte, which led to a spending spree on Kim Sun-bin, whose negotiations hadn’t gone so well. Yang Hyun-jong’s contract became atypical due to budgeting issues.
In the meantime, Shim Jae-hak took over the management of the club. By replacing two foreign pitchers at once, Shim showed the players and fans that the team was committed to making the postseason. In the same vein, keeping Kim Tae-gun on the bench could also be a sign of intent to both the club and the fans.
It’s also likely that Kim will be able to focus on his game without worrying about the winter. If the last three games are any indication, the “Kim Tae-gun effect” could continue for the remaining 72 games. There is no reason for Kim to avoid negotiating a non-free agent multi-year contract. It’s safe to say that KIA has no choice but to sign him.