Lee Seung-yeop, who took over as the Doosan Bears head coach ahead of the 2023 season, received a big “take-up gift.”
As he took the helm, Lee hinted that the team needs a solid reinforcement of its home turf. Yang Eui-ji, 36, who joined Doosan in 2006 and led the team to win the 2015 and 2016 Korean Series, entered the FA market. Yang Eui-ji left the team after securing his first free agent qualification after finishing the 2018 season and signing a four-year contract with NC for a total of 12.5 billion won. He proved himself as the “winning contractor” by leading NC to its first unified victory in 2020. Doosan succeeded in recruiting Doosan for a total of 15.2 billion won for 4+2 years.
After returning, Yang Eui-ji did his part perfectly. He played 129 games with a batting average of .35 and 17 home runs, becoming the only hitter in his team with .300. He also showed off his robustness as a homeowner by embracing his eighth career catcher Golden Glove.헤라카지노
Yang Eui-ji is already in his mid-30s to his late 30s. It is not easy to wear a full-time mask in the position of a catcher who has a lot of physical burden.
In order to maintain steady skills, the role of a backup catcher who can relieve the burden of physical strength has become more important.
This season, Jang Seung-hyun and Ahn Seung-han stepped up as backup catchers. In defense, they showed off their respective strengths. Jang Seung-hyun showed excellent throwing ability and Ahn Seung-han showed solid basic skills.
The problem was offense. Jang only posted a batting average of 0.158 in 76 games, while Ahn recorded a batting average of 0.208 in 22 games. “There were no outstanding catchers except for Yang Eui-ji,” Lee said in a cold evaluation.
“Yang Eui-ji played mostly as a designated hitter at NC Dinos last year. He thought that he should not force himself to play immediately. However, due to team circumstances, he had no choice but to serve as a catcher in many games. Had there been a catcher capable of playing in about two games a week, his will would have arranged his physical strength by playing as a designated hitter, but he lacked a lot (backup catcher). Jang Seung-hyun and Ahn Seung-han were good to me, but they fell short of my expectations,” Lee said. When Yang said he would play in four games a week, he needed a backup catcher who would take about 33 percent of the shares.
Eventually, Doosan started blood transfusions. In the second draft, which was conducted after the end of the season, Doosan recruited Kim Ki-yeon from LG. In the first round, Doosan has to pay 400 million won (34,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation.
Kim Ki-yeon joined LG in the fourth round (34th overall) of the second rookie draft in 2016. He played only 42 games in the first division, and only reached 140 percent, but his potential is also high. As Yang Eui-ji is a junior at Jinheung High School, he also expected help.
Coach Lee said, “I think Kim Ki-yeon and Yoon Joon-ho, who won Jang Seung-hyun and Ahn Seung-hyun, should compete for one or two games a week, except for (Yang) Eui-ji,” adding, “We start with a zero base except for the will.”
The primary members of the main league will be decided at the spring camp. “I think the second catcher will be decided based on how much we prepare for off-season self-training and how much we appeal to coaching staff at the camp. I will carefully trust the battery coach’s eyes and discuss before choosing. I hope the players will play with the determination that they will not lose,” Lee said.
First of all, Kim Ki-yeon plans to accompany her to the Australian spring camp. There is a mandatory provision that a player who is selected in the first round in the second draft must be registered for at least 50 days. “I think I will go (to camp in Australia). I need to meet the number of registration days,” Lee said.