Catchers were worth their weight in gold in free agency last year. There were a lot of big fish at once. Doosan signed Yang Ji Won for 4+2 years and up to 15.2 billion won, while Lotte signed Yoo Kang-nam for 4 years and 8 billion won. After losing out on Yoo, LG signed Park Dong-won for four years and 6.5 billion won, and NC, who lost Yang Ji, signed Park Se-hyuk for four years and 4.6 billion won.
There are only two catchers available in free agency this year. SSG Kim Min-sik (34) and Kiwoom’s Lee Ji-young (37). Kim Min-sik is a first-time free agent and a C-grade player without compensation. Lee Ji-young is a second-year free agent and is a B-rated player with compensation.
SSG and Kim Min-sik have been meeting and negotiating several times. They have yet to reach an agreement. However, there is a backstory that SSG offered Kim a multi-year contract at the end of last season, which he rejected.
After winning the 2022 season, SSG offered Kim a non-free agent multi-year contract. The offer was worth about 2.5 billion won, but Kim turned it down. He decided to become a free agent after this season and evaluate the market. SSG and Kim Min-sik re-signed him for this year’s salary of 150 million won. After turning down SSG’s multi-year contract offer, Kim is now a free agent and negotiating.
Things have changed in a year.
Kim played in 122 games this year, batting 21-for-58 (266 at-bats) with five home runs, 34 RBIs, 28 runs scored, and a .618 OPS. He didn’t perform as well as expected in the season leading up to free agency. In nine seasons and 821 games, he batted .222 with 24 home runs, 214 RBI, and 229 runs scored.
There seems to be little demand from teams looking to add a catcher. Prior to this season, LG, Doosan, Lotte, and NC each signed a free agent catcher. KIA signed catcher Kim Tae-gun, whom they acquired via trade in October, to a three-year, 2.5 billion won non-free agent contract. Ahead of the 2022 season, Hanwha’s Choi Jae-hoon 온라인카지노 (five years, 5.4 billion won), KT’s Jang Jang-woo (four years, 4.2 billion won), and Samsung’s Kang Min-ho (four years, 3.6 billion won) signed free agent deals. With no catching talent hitting the free agent market for the foreseeable future, eight teams, with the exception of SSG and Kiwoom, don’t have much of a catching depth concern.
SSG needs Kim Min-sik. Veteran catcher Lee Jae-won requested his release from the club after the season
He wanted to look for new opportunities. While Lee was removed from the disabled list, SSG acquired two promising catchers in the second round of the draft, Park Dae-on and Shin Beom-soo. Together with rookie Cho Hyung-woo (21), they bolstered their depth for internal competition.
An SSG representative said, “Kim Min-sik did well last year and contributed to the unified championship. We offered him a multi-year contract last year, but he refused. We offered him an amount of money (in free agency negotiations), and only a yes or no remained.” It seems that the club has made the final offer and it’s a matter of whether the player accepts it or not. The 2.5 billion won he turned down last year has already passed. SSG’s offer is reportedly less than that. There could be some last-minute adjustments, but it’s unlikely that the clubs’ offers will change much.