After yet another fall baseball failure, the Lotte Giants have drawn the knife early. They said goodbye to three players they acquired this year.
On July 17, Lotte requested the KBO to release three players: pitchers Yoon Myung-jun and Kim Tae-wook, and outfielder Kook Hae-sung.
Unlike other teams, there was no official announcement of the roster changes. The same was true when Kim Jae-yoo, Nawon Tak, Choi Min-jae, and Chau-chan retired and Kim Joo-hyun was released during this season.
Yoon joined Lotte during the team’s massive reinforcements in last winter’s free agent market. While there were some successes in the process, such as Kim Sang-soo and Ahn Kwon-soo, Yoon Myeong-jun did not live up to expectations.
His arrival in the fall marked the beginning of the Doosan dynasty. He was also the pitcher of Doosan’s 2016 regular season championship sweep. There were also expectations for the ‘bear-marked giant bullpen’ of Kim Sung-bae, Kim Seung-hoe, and Oh Hyun-taek.
However, he hasn’t regained the form he had in his prime. They weren’t bad in April, when they posted a 4.26 ERA in 6 games, 6⅓ innings, and 3 holds. But then he went into a slump. He was removed from the first team in mid-June and only recalled on September 9, but he didn’t live up to expectations. His record this season is just 1-5 with a 6.52 ERA in 21 games and 19 1/3 innings pitched.
Kim Tae-wook was also acquired from the independent league in March as part of Lotte’s mound reinforcements. He is the protagonist of “cartoon baseball” who switched to left-handed pitching after injuring his arm in elementary school.
He was the first-round pick of Hanwha in 2017, but has since gone through a narrative of being released, rejoined, and released a second time. While playing for the Paju Challengers, he stood out in a practice game and was called up by Lotte. His young age (he was born in 1998) was also a plus.
He donned the Lotte jersey as a developmental player and made his first-team debut on August 17, seven years after joining the professional ranks. It was his only first-team appearance of the year. His record for the Futures was 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA in 43⅔ innings pitched. He was released after the season.
Kook Hae-sung was also an ambitious signing, aiming to add long-hitting power. Lotte signed Kook Hae-sung from the independent league in May after he failed to find a team after declaring free agency in 2021. Lotte dreamed of strengthening its outfield depth and utilizing him as a pinch-hitter, but he was canceled due to a hamstring injury in early June. He returned to the first team at the end of September, but was again canceled due to injury. He left with just 10 at-bats and eight hits this season. 메이저놀이터
For the sixth consecutive year, Lotte will forget the pain of being released from fall baseball and begin to prepare for next year, starting with a final camp and the selection of a new manager. But first, the roster needs to be organized.