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Doosan ranks 35 ‘genius shortstops’…”Nostalgia for dynasty days, juniors to fill in the gaps”

November 27, 2023 | by bookmeforphotographers.com

The clock won’t stop ticking for Doosan Bears’ “genius shortstop” Kim Jae-ho in 2024. In the recent KBO Secondary Draft, Doosan chose to honor one-club veterans by selecting Kim Jae-ho. Doosan fans will never allow “52” to be worn on another jersey.

Kim Jae-ho’s second free agent contract, which he signed three years ago, expires after the 2023 season. In 2023, Kim played in 91 games, batting .283 with 70 doubles, three home runs, and 29 RBIs. In the wild-card deciding game, Kim Jae-ho started as the No. 2 hitter and played the role of table-setter to perfection with two hits, one walk and three runs scored.

The slower-than-expected growth of the youngsters who challenged Kim Jae-ho’s spot in 2023, including Lee Yoo-chan, Ahn Jae-seok, and Park Kye-beom, also made the ‘genius shortstop’ feel the high barrier. As he still showed his competitiveness at the first team level, Doosan reportedly included Kim Jae-ho in the list of 35 players on the secondary draft protection list.

Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop said, “Even Kim Jae-ho has done well, so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t play with us next year. However, we need younger players to surpass him to make the team stronger. They should compete fiercely to keep and take away each other’s spots,” he said, emphasizing the need for Kim Jae-ho.

On November 26, Kim Jae-ho attended the Yang Joon-hyuk Hope Sharing Charity Baseball Tournament at the Gocheok Dome and told the press, “It’s been a long time since I came out in the third inning. All I had to do was pitch, so I threw the ball hard (laughs). It’s a good cause, so I had a fun day with the juniors,” he smiled.

Jae-ho Kim is a Bears Living Legend who deserves to be in control of the final moments of his career. With an extension for the 2024 season, he’ll be pushing himself to the limit once again.

“First of all, I think I’ll have to talk to the club in December. I don’t play as many games as I used to, so I have more time to focus on maintaining and managing my body. I’m training with weights now, and I’ll try to get my body back up to speed in December. At my age, it’s important not to get sick (laughs),” he said.

Kim believes Doosan will have a tougher time competing in the 2024 season. This means that the team will have to prepare for the season with more determination.

“The teams at the bottom of the standings have strengthened this year, and if we start the season without as many injuries as this year, we can expect a tough competition next year. I think our team is also in danger of dropping down next year if we don’t get stronger. If we want to be in the top five again, the players need to improve and be more nervous.”

On the 25th, Kim Jae-ho attended the ‘Gathering of the Bears’ at Jamsil Stadium and met with Doosan fans. He felt the love of the Doosan fans through the autograph signing and high-five event, which made him feel even more grateful.

“I am always grateful to the Doosan fans. I felt like I received a lot of love this year. I think the fans have a lot of nostalgia for the dynasty days when we won the 2015 and 2016 championships, and now that Jang Won-jun has left, there are not many of us left, so I think they are feeling more nostalgic. It’s time for the juniors to fill in the gaps. I hope you will give them a lot of support and encouragement next year,” he concluded.

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