Lotte, a professional baseball team, has completed annual salary contracts with those who are eligible for renewal this season and will begin preparing for the season in earnest.
Lotte said on the 26th, “The closing pitcher Kim Won-joong signed contracts with 48 people who are eligible for renewal, including signing 500 million won, up 90.8 percent from last year.” Kim Won-joong performed very well with 5 wins, 6 losses and 30 saves with a 2.97 ERA in 63 games last year, and achieved his first career total of 100 saves (107).
Koo also renewed his contract at 450 million won (390,000 U.S. dollars), up 81 percent. Last year, Koo had two wins, six losses, three saves and an ERA of 3.96 with 22 holds in 67 games. He has recorded more than 20 holds for four consecutive seasons.
Na Kyun-an, who played as a homegrown ace, also signed an 88.1 percent increase to 20 million won (approx. Na Kyun-an, a former catcher, played full-time as a starter by posting four wins and an earned run average of 1.34 through April last year, becoming the MVP of the month. However, he slowed down and finished the season with six wins and eight losses and an earned run average of 3.80.
Outfielder Yoon Dong-hee signed a contract worth 90 million won (approx. Yoon recorded a batting average of 287 percent, 111 hits, two homers, 41 RBIs and 45 runs in 107 games last year, and played in international competitions including the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Rookie outfielder Kim Min-seok recorded the highest annual salary increase rate for his team. Having achieved 100 hits in the eighth season of high school graduate rookie last year, Kim signed an 85 million won (approx. Kim posted a batting average of 255 percent 102 hits, three homers, 39 RBIs and 53 runs in 129 games in the 2023 season.
After completing the contract, Lotte will start its spring camp for this season on March 31. It will last for a total of 35 days until March 5.
A total of 63 players will participate in the event, including 13 coaching staff members including head coach Kim Tae-hyung, 20 pitchers, four catchers, 12 infielders and seven outfielders. This year’s rookie players include pitcher Jeon Mir.
“We will understand not only the existing players but also the newly joined players more closely so that we can form a well-organized squad this season,” head coach Kim Tae-hyung said. “We will maintain it well during the camp and show good performances to our fans.”
The first round of off-season training will begin at Lotte Hotel Guam, a base camp. The center will focus on physical and technical training at Dedeo Baseball Stadium from March 31 to February 20.
The second round of off-season training will be held in Okinawa, Japan. The training will focus on warm-up drills at Nishizaki Baseball Stadium in Itoman City from Feb. 21 to Feb. 26 and Kushikawa Baseball Stadium from Feb. 26 to March 5 to enhance the sense of actual games. The team will hold joint training with the Chiba Lotte first-team squad at Nishizaki Baseball Stadium on Feb. 22, and two exchange games on Feb. 24 and 25.
Lotte said it is continuously increasing exchanges with Chiba Lotte from a long-term perspective. In July last year, Lotte’s front office held a meeting with the organization management department and the head of its R&D group through a short-term training session for Japanese teams, and in January this year, the head of the team, the head of the training team, and the head of the stadium’s business team visited Chiba Lotte in person to discuss development plans such as regular exchange matches between the first and second teams and dispatch of team training.
Jeon Joon-woo, who was appointed as captain this year, said, “I will prepare well for the off-season training period to repay the fans’ support for the upcoming season,” and added, “I will lead by example and play one more step for the team with the new coach and coaching staff.”