“We will make the blue dynasty again.”
The Samsung Lions have begun a new era. The team announced the appointment of Lee Jong-yeol as the first outsider manager in the franchise’s history on Nov. 16. “I want to focus on player development and build Samsung into a strong team that can produce sustainable results,” said Lee.
Lee’s vision is closely aligned with Samsung’s reality. Samsung has gone through a dark period in recent years. While the team has failed to qualify for the fall baseball season in seven of the last eight years, it was largely due to its ineffective approach to player development and nurturing. While the outfield has undergone a generational change, there are no new faces on the mound.
The bullpen is particularly problematic. The reliance on the 40-year-old Oh Seung-hwan and Woo Kyu-min remains high. In recent years, Samsung has been hoping for the growth of younger players like left-hander Lee Seung-hyun and Kim Yoon-soo, but there hasn’t been any noticeable improvement. The fact that they are still looking for a “post-Oh Seung-hwan” after such a long dark period suggests that their scouting and prospect development has been poor. There is no avoiding the frontal responsibility theory.
In that sense, Lee Jong-yeol’s vision of “running a team in the style of Theo Epstein” is the most necessary issue for Samsung right now. Theo Epstein, who served as the general manager of the Boston Red Sox and the president of the Chicago Cubs in Major League Baseball, led the team to strengthen its power through efficient management using data and a prospect development system. He led his teams to championships through bold trades, small and medium-sized acquisitions, and internal development. This is the kind of vision Samsung needs, given its thin roster and lack of internal development.
In the upcoming winter, Samsung will undergo major changes under Lee Jong-yeol’s leadership. Not only will the scouting and development system be improved, but the roster will also be reorganized as the team vows to “focus on player development.” It will also be interesting to see what the team does in the free agency and trade markets to strengthen its roster. 안전놀이터
Theo Epstein broke the Curse of the Bambino in Boston in 2004 after 86 years and led the Cubs to a World Series title in 2016 after breaking the 108-year-old Curse of the Goat. It will be interesting to see if Lee Jong-yeol, who has Theo Epstein as a role model, will be able to play the role of a ‘winning hitman’ at Samsung, which is going through a dark period.