The KIA Tigers will begin preparations for the 2024 season in earnest with a finishing camp in Okinawa in November. The biggest variable in planning for the 2024 season is the future of infielder Kim Sun-bin, who will enter the free agent market. In the end, the key is whether KIA can sign Kim Sun-bin to a non-FA multi-year contract before the free agent market opens.
After the end of this season, there are two players from KIA who will obtain FA qualifications. They are infielder Kim Sun-bin and outfielder Ko Jong-wook. In the case of Ko Jong-wook, who had already given up on applying for FA qualification last year, there is a question mark as to whether he will apply for FA qualification this time as well. However, Kim Sun-bin, who signed the first free agent contract (4 years total 4 billion won) after the end of the 2020 season, is likely to enter the free agent market.
Kim Sun-bin played in 119 games this season and recorded a batting average of 0.320/134 hits/48 RBI/on-base percentage of 0.381. Kim Sun-bin, who took on the role of team captain, firmly maintained his position as the starting second baseman and contributed to the team’s competition for the top five until the end of the season.
The biggest challenge in the KIA Stove League this winter is ultimately Kim Seon-bin’s retention. This is because there is no obvious second baseman resource within the team that can replace Kim Sun-bin.
If we turn our attention to recruiting external free agents, Lotte Giants infielder Ahn Chi-hong is a candidate for second baseman. However, fierce competition to recruit Ahn Chi-hong is expected from at least two other clubs, including Lotte, his original team, looking to reinforce infielders. It is true that it is not an easy situation for KIA, which has to calculate the salary cap to some extent, to rush into it.
If they cannot catch Kim Sun-bin and at the same time recruit external free agents becomes difficult, KIA should look to the growth of internal resources such as Kim Gyu-sung and Park Min. Kim Gyu-seong had the opportunity to play in the most first-team games (99 games) among the internal second baseman backup resources this season. Park Min, who was discharged from the Sangmu Baseball Team, plans to be dispatched to the Canberra Cavalry team of the Australian Professional Baseball League (ABL) this winter and work on improving his off-season skills.
Of course, from the perspective of the KIA club, Kim Sun-bin may choose to reduce variables with a non-FA multi-year contract before entering the free agent market. KIA has already signed a three-year, non-FA multi-year contract worth a total of 2.5 billion won with starting catcher Kim Tae-gun just before the end of the regular season, alleviating worries about future catchers.
Additionally, this year’s postseason schedule will end after mid-November due to many rain cancellations. Considering that the free agent market opens a week after the end date of the Korean Series, the opening of the free agent market this year is bound to be pushed back further than previous years. This creates more room during the negotiation period for non-FA multi-year contracts.토토사이트
A KIA official said, “The players took a break immediately after the end of the regular season, and the club also had a busy time in many ways. Now we are starting to prepare for next year’s season in earnest. It is possible to meet with Kim Sun-bin once before the free agent market opens. Our club clearly intends to catch Kim Sun-bin, so it is an issue to consider in many ways. “We also plan to review the vulnerable position of first baseman from various angles,” he said.
Who will be the face who will take the KIA second baseman position in the 2024 season? It is expected that great interest will be focused on the future of ‘Captain’ Kim Sun-bin this winter.