New Lotte Giants manager Kim Tae-hyung (55) revealed his plans for foreign players in the new season after the first team meeting at the Gimhae Sangdong Stadium on April 25.
“(Charlie Barnes and Aaron Wilkerson) are pitchers with good control and game management,” Kim said, adding that he hasn’t had any official talks with the club yet.
Barnes, 29, who played in his second season with Lotte this year, went 11-10 with a 3.28 ERA in 170⅓ innings in 30 games.
He overcame a rough start to the season and stabilized in the second half, raising expectations for his performance in the new season.
Wilkerson, 34, came in as a replacement for Dan Straily and impressed with a 7-2 record and 2.26 ERA in 79⅔ innings in 13 games.
Except for his age, Kim is an ace in every detail.
“I’ve seen a lot of foreign players, but no matter how good their record is, there are some who perform so badly if they take the wrong first step. Unless there is a player who is much better than these two, it would be better to go steady,” Kim said, expressing his intention to re-sign them.
The time has come to decide on foreign batsman Niko Gudrum, 31.
While he showed accuracy with a .295 batting average, he failed to hit a home run in 50 games and committed 13 errors.
Kim said, “I think we just change foreign hitters. I didn’t think about it. They don’t play good defense, so their utility value drops,” Kim said, adding, “I’m considering them as players with good long balls.”
In short, he asked the club to re-sign the two foreign pitchers, but to sign a foreign hitter with long batting power.
From the club’s point of view, it’s easier for the new manager to get things moving if he makes his intentions known early on.
“Even within the club, the direction of foreign players has been set by the manager, so I think we just need to stick with it,” said a Lotte team official.
Communication on the field and at the front desk is an essential condition for good performance.
It’s only the beginning, but Kim’s refreshing words and the front office’s receptiveness to them are not bad.
Lotte’s next task is to appoint a new manager.
Two candidates, one from a baseball background and one from a non-baseball background, have reportedly been interviewed.
The Lotte brass is prioritizing a manager with a broad understanding of the team and the ability to communicate on the field.
A full-scale stovepipe strategy, including free agency and the secondary draft, will only be possible after the new manager arrives.
The “Kim Tae-hyung division” that will assist the new manager is not expected to be finalized until after the Korean Series.
While most of the hiring is complete, some of the first-team coaches who will be joining Lotte have not yet finished the postseason with their current teams.
So far, former SSG Landers coach Kim Min-jae and former Lotte coach Joo Hyung-kwang have been confirmed to join Lotte.
Kim will take on the most important coaching positions in the first team, including manager and Joo will be the pitcher.
Lotte will announce its 2024 coaching staff once the postseason is completely over. 파워볼분석