I spent a total of 30 billion… Lotte-Hanhwa sluggish start, is there a trick for foreign directors?
Ahead of the free agent (FA) market in 2023, many club officials were paying attention to the moves of Lotte and Hanwha. The two teams that were in the bottom ranks and in need of reinforcement were also relatively free from the salary cap that will be implemented from 2023. The prospect that “Lotte and Hanwha will actively enter the free agency market ahead of the 2023 season” was dominant, and it actually was.
Both teams have filled the limit of free agents that can be recruited from outside. As soon as the market opened, Lotte, which recruited catcher Gangnam Yoo (4 years total of 8 billion won) and shortstop Noh Jin-hyeok (4 years total of 5 billion won), signed last-minute sidearm pitcher Han Hyun-hee (3+1 years total of 4 billion won), attracting fans. raised their expectations. After immediately filling the positions of catcher and shortstop, which had been the team’s weak points for a long time, with a sense of power, the mound players were also strengthened. There was even an evaluation saying, “Now if I can’t make it to the top 5, I will fail.”메이저놀이터
Hanwha, which stayed at the bottom for three consecutive years, also actively spent money unlike 2022. In order to fill the lack of a central hitter, Chae Eun-seong signed a contract for a total of 9 billion won over 6 years, as well as recruited veteran right-hander Lee Tae-yang and infielder Oh Seon-jin, and also caught internal free agent Jang Si-hwan. The total amount of money that Hanwha has sown by the market has also reached 12.83 billion won. The two teams spent close to 30 billion won in total.
The active reinforcement of these two teams was expected to have a ripple effect that would change the professional baseball rankings. In fact, Lotte spent the spring in a positive gaze, shouting for reinforcement of the center line and even reinforcement of mobility.
However, in conclusion, the expectation was wrong until the second week of the opening. Both teams are at the bottom of the table. Of course, it’s still early in the season, but it wasn’t enough to give the impression that something had changed drastically compared to last year. Lotte is in 8th place with 2 wins and 4 losses in the first 6 games. Hanwha fell to the bottom with 1 win and 6 losses in the first 7 games.
It is meaningless to predict season performance at this stage. However, the two teams, which were “losing teams” until last year, needed to build momentum with good results from April, and the first two to three weeks of opening were important. In addition to erasing the consciousness of defeat through victory, they had to develop their own momentum, but this is not an easy aspect.
Lotte recorded a team ERA of 4.99 (9th place) in 6 games, and the team batting average (.236) is also staying in the middle and low ranks. The starting pitchers have not been able to break off a light start, and it is difficult to easily fill the void left by Lee Dae-ho in the other lineup. There was a plan to fill the gap based on his mobility, but as he entered the season, both stealing attempts and success decreased, revealing limitations. It is pointed out that it is not easy to change the team color.
Hanwha lost due to a lack of support even after playing most games on equal footing. It was a record of 1 win and 6 losses, but it was a game that could have been 6 wins and 1 loss, but it is showing its limits in detailed play. Last year’s failure process is repeating itself, until the mistake that comes out at the crucial moment in the bullpen hunting. Coach Carlos Subero’s mercenary skills were also on the cutting board early on. The greater the expectations, the greater the disappointment.
Nothing good will happen if this atmosphere continues. It is necessary to quickly change the atmosphere and achieve a win rate of 50% or more. After playing 3 consecutive matches at home against LG this week during the week, Lotte will play 3 consecutive matches against Samsung on the weekend. A three-game series with LG, which is ahead of Lotte in terms of objective strength, can influence the mood in the early stages. Hanwha will play 6 consecutive matches against KIA and kt. If it does not rebound here, it will be difficult to achieve the original goal of ‘April 50% win rate’.