The KIA Tigers will begin preparations for the 2024 season in earnest in November with a final camp in Okinawa.
One of the biggest variables in their plans for the 2024 season will be the fate of second baseman Kim Sun-bin, who will hit the free agent market.
Ultimately, it will come down to whether or not KIA can lock up Kim on a non-free agent, multi-year deal before the free agent market opens.
After this season, two of KIA’s players will be eligible for free agency.
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 free agency last year, it is a question mark whether he will apply for free agency again.
However, Kim Sun-bin, who signed his first free agent contract after the 2020 season (totaling 4 billion won over four years), is likely to hit the free agent market.
Kim appeared in 119 games this season, batting .320 with 134 hits, 48 RBIs, and a .381 on-base percentage.
As the team captain, Kim solidified his position as the starting second baseman and helped the team compete for the top five until the end of the season.
The biggest challenge for KIA Stobreg this winter will be retaining Kim.
The team doesn’t have a viable second baseman to replace him from within the organization.
If they turn to outside free agents, Lotte Giants infielder Ahn Chi-hong is a potential second baseman.
However, Ahn is expected to face stiff competition from at least two other teams looking to bolster their infield, including Lotte.
It’s not an easy situation for KIA, which has to do some salary cap calculations, to jump in and make a move.
If they can’t get Kim Sun-bin and external free agent signings become difficult, KIA will have to rely on the growth of internal resources such as Kim Kyu-sung and Park Min.
Kim Gyu-sung has gotten the most first-team playing time (99 games) among the internal second base backups this season.
Park Min, who was discharged from the Commercial Baseball Organization, will be sent to the Canberra Cavaliers of the Australian Baseball League (ABL) this winter to improve his offseason skills.
Of course, from KIA’s perspective, they may choose to reduce the variables by signing Kim to a non-free agent multi-year contract before he hits the free agent market. 토토사이트
The team already signed starting catcher Kim Tae-gun to a three-year, 2.5 billion won ($2.5 million) non-free agent contract just before the end of the regular season to ease future catching concerns.
In addition, this year’s postseason is scheduled to end in mid-November due to numerous rainouts.
Considering that the free agency market opens a week after the Korean Series concludes, this year’s free agent market will be even later than usual.
This gives more time for non-free agent multi-year contract negotiations.
A Kia representative said, “After the regular season ended, the players took a break immediately, and the club was busy in many ways. We are now in full swing with preparations for next season.
We can meet with Kim Sun-bin’s side before the free agency market opens.
We are definitely interested in signing him, so it’s something we will think about in many ways.
We are also planning to look at the first base position, which is a vulnerable position.”
Who will play second base for KIA in 2024? A lot of attention will be paid to the fate of ‘Captain’ Kim Sun-bin this winter.