Last winter, the Lotte Giants were one of the most active teams in the player acquisition market. Not only did they sign Yoo Kang-nam, Noh Jin-hyuk, and Han Hyun-hee in free agency, but they also brought in Kim Sang-soo, Shin Jung-rak, Yoon Myung-joon, and Ahn Kwon-soo in the waiver wire, significantly strengthening their roster. Lotte was the team with the most changes in the off-season roster.
Building up their roster was synonymous with strengthening, and it’s one of the reasons they’re currently so competitive in the top tier. However, Lotte is not content to rest on its laurels. They are not only preparing for the present, but also for the near future. The team is also preparing for the Hangzhou Asian Games, which could be a factor in the end-of-season race.
Lotte acquired left-hander Shim Jae-min from KT on July 19 in a one-for-one trade, sending infielder Lee Ho-yeon. While Shim has struggled this year and his motivation has been unclear, he is a left-handed resource who can provide a one-man bullpen when healthy. KT was the first to request the trade, but Lotte also looked to the near future rather than the present.
Shim won’t be in the first team right away. He pitched well in the second team and was ready to start, so there’s no problem with his pitching, but the plan is for him to lose weight and make some balance adjustments before he’s ready for the first team.
On the 22nd, Lotte signed outfielder Kook Hae-sung, who had applied for future free agency but was unclaimed and had his uniform taken off. Kook Hae-sung, who had a long bat and showed a lot of determination, applied for future free agency, which is now in the process of being abolished after the 2021 season. However, he was unable to find a team and disappeared from the professional stage. However, after playing for the Seongnam MacPies in the independent league, he was tested and returned to the professional stage in a Lotte uniform.
Sim and Kook Hae-sung are not expected to be an immediate force. However, they were necessary additions. Shim is a rare left-handed pitcher in the league anyway. A left-handed bullpen was even rarer, even by Lotte standards. The left-handed bullpen is anchored by Kim Jin-wook. There is a rookie, Lee Tae-yeon, but he is still inexperienced and is learning his limitations in the first team. 메이저놀이터
Kim has come into his own this year and has established himself as the core bullpen and will be hard to replace. However, the team also needs to be prepared for a situation without him. Kim’s current record (2-1, 4.04 ERA in 19 games) is good enough to earn him a spot on the national team for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September. Lotte will have about a month to prepare for Kim’s absence, and they can look to Shim Jae-min to fill that role. With his experience in the top-flight, Lotte is preparing for the summer and the Asian Games after he has recovered from his injury. We can also look forward to the return of injured players such as Lee In-bok and Chau Chan.
Hae-Sung Kook’s signing could be a bit more immediate. The outfield is not without its share of injuries right now. Sung-bin Hwang is out with a torn ankle ligament and Jack Rex is out with a torn knee tendon. Ahn Kwon-soo, who was a staple in the outfield throughout April, has a bad right elbow. He needs to be managed.
Kim Min-seok, Yoon Dong-hee, and the rookies are filling in the gaps, but the outfield depth is lacking right now. In addition, Kim Min-seok, Yoon Dong-hee, and Ahn Kwon-soo are likely to be in the Asian Games squad. For outfield depth, the insurance of localization could be worth it.
For the outfield depth, the insurance of localization could be worth it. And the front office is supporting the field in case there are changes in the future. Lotte’s choice to prepare for the Asian Games will pay off.