Jeon Jun-woo and Kim Kang-min had a mixed bag

This winter, Lotte franchise star Jeon Jun-woo (37) and SSG Landers franchise star Kim Kang-min (41) of the Hanwha Eagles had a mixed bag.

Lotte announced on March 20 that it had “agreed to a contract with Jeon Jun-woo for a four-year guaranteed amount of KRW 4 billion and a total of KRW 700 million in incentives.” Despite being an older veteran, Lotte showed its sincerity first, and Jeon responded, making him the first free agent signing of the year.

Joon-woo, who joined Lotte in the second round (15th overall) of the 2008 rookie draft, is a one-club man who has played exclusively for Lotte throughout his 16-year professional career. He is a veteran among veterans with a career batting average of .323 (6039-for-1812), 196 home runs, 888 RBIs, and an OPS of .829 in 1616 games.

After the 2019 season, Jeon became eligible for free agency, but negotiations with Lotte were not easy. The tug-of-war between Jeon and Lotte dragged on for another year, and in January 2020, Jeon put his stamp on a four-year, 3.4 billion won ($1.2 billion down payment, 2 billion won annual salary, and 200 million won option) contract with Lotte.

Jun-woo performed like an alto during his contract.

From 2021 to this year, he batted over .300 for three straight years and hit 61 home runs in four years. Heading into free agency this year, at just 37 years old, he had a breakout year, batting .301 with 17 homers, 77 RBIs, and an OPS of .852 in 138 games (493-for-154).

As a second-time free agent, Jeon Jun-woo was one of the first to agree to a contract, as opposed to his first free agency. Lotte approached the contract in good faith, and although Jun-woo was offered better deals by other organizations, including Hanwha, he decided to stay with Lotte.

Lotte head coach Park Jun-hyuk said, “Jun-woo has excelled every year with his professional self-management and selfless attitude of putting the team first, and he has dedicated himself to the team. As a senior member of the team, we hope to build our team’s culture together in the future. 온라인카지노 As a one-club man, I want to continue the tradition and stay with the team for a longer period of time than my current contract,” he said, emphasizing the meaning of a franchise star.

The exact opposite of Jun-woo Jeon happened to SSG franchise star Kim Kang-min.

Drafted by SK (now SSG) in the second round (18th) of the 2001 rookie draft, Kim was a one-club man who played exclusively for SSG for his entire 23-year professional career until this year, and became a favorite of SSG fans. In 1,919 career games (5364 hits, 1470 runs), he batted .275 with 138 home runs, 674 RBIs and an OPS of .750, and appeared in the Korean Series eight times, winning five titles. Last year, he batted 3-for-7 with a double, triple, two home runs, five RBIs and a 1.500 OPS in five games in the Korean Series, leading SSG to its first Korean Series title since its acquisition and earning his first Korean Series MVP award.

However, Kim was not included in the 35-man protected list for the second round of the draft, which was held on April 22 after the season ended. SSG had been in talks with Kim to retire and believed that no team would be willing to take on the transfer fee for Kim, who will turn 42 next year.

SSG was shocked when Hanwha selected Kim in the fourth round (22nd overall) of the Secondary Draft. Hanwha, who needed outfield reinforcements, had no reason not to select Kim, who was off the disabled list and had no indication that he was planning to retire. “We believe that Kim Kang-min has the skills to strengthen our outfield depth and serve as a pinch-hitting resource, and we also believe that he can share a lot of empathy with our young outfielders and positively influence their growth,” Hanwha said at the time of the designation.

With their feet on the ground,

SSG urgently asked Kang-min to decide whether to retire. If he retired, he could remain an SSG One Club member. However, Kim Kang-min was determined to stay active and eventually decided to play for Hanwha starting next season.

SSG lost their franchise star, who was in talks to become a permanent fixture, for nothing due to poor judgment by the front office. In the aftermath of the incident, Kim Sung-yong was demoted to head of the R&D center and left the team. However, the anger of the fans hasn’t subsided.

Kim’s departure has also rattled other franchise stars on the team. SSG ace Kim Kwang-hyun expressed his disappointment on his personal Instagram account shortly after Kim was selected by Hanwha in the second round of the draft, saying, “I respect someone’s choice, but I don’t think 23 years should be ignored.”

Both veterans who dreamed of becoming one-club players, Jeon Jun-woo and Kim Kang-min, met different endings this winter. Lotte and SSG made different choices for their franchise stars, and the fans’ reactions to them are a reminder of what franchise stars mean to fans.

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