The winning contractor is here, but I can’t use my hands…The tragedy of falling last place in Lotte

April 13, 2024 | by

Lotte ultimately fell to the bottom of the standings. At Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Tuesday, Lotte lost its game 4-9 against Kiwoom in the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League. Having lost all three consecutive games during the week against Samsung, Lotte fell into a quagmire for four consecutive losses and failed to avoid falling to the bottom with a winning percentage of .250 with 4 wins and 12 losses overall.

There are many concerns over Lotte right now. Although it is still early in the season, there is no way out of the game to the extent that people naturally express “frustrating” when watching the game.

After the end of the last season, Lotte recruited “master general” Kim Tae-hyung. Kim Tae-hyung was praised for his excellent eye for players and ability to fight in numbers as a man who has built a golden tower of advancing to the Korean Series for seven consecutive years and winning three Korean Series titles during his time at the Doosan Bears.

Lotte’s winter has been quiet, however. After signing a four-year contract worth W4.7 billion with internal FA Jeon Joon-woo, Lotte failed to catch veteran second baseman An Chi-hong, who became a free agent, causing confusion in the infield. An Chi-hong wore a Hanwha uniform, which aggressively bet a total of W7.2 billion for four plus two years. Although Lotte nominated Oh Sun-jin and Choi Hang in the second draft to fill An Chi-hong’s gap, and acquired Kim Min-sung through a sign-and-trade deal, it was not a move that would change dramatically.

It was in contrast to Lotte’s four-year contract with Yoo Kang-nam at the FA market after the 2022 season, five billion won with Roh Jin-hyuk, and four-year contract with Han Hyun-hee at 4 billion won with 3+1 year. Lotte’s aggressive investment made it difficult to secure room for its salary cap, and it was forced to consider the future of Kim Won-joong and Koo Seung-min, who would become FA after the end of this season.

On top of that, Lotte also neglected to mention its slugging capability, which is considered its biggest weakness. While new foreign hitter Victor Reyes is leading the team’s lineup with three home runs, Lotte has seven, the lowest among the 10 teams. Lotte is the only team whose number of home runs has failed to meet even double digits.

Coach Kim Tae-hyung also said during the spring camp, “I am well aware of the lack of long-hitting ability. There is a big difference between having one shot and not having one,” but added, “But still, shouldn’t we find a way to win?” He said he is aware of his team’s Achilles tendon, but there was nothing a coach could do about it as he couldn’t find a player to hit long balls in the lineup and fell into a collective slump.

Winning with the manager’s mercenary skills is also possible only when the player moves in the end. For example, Lotte won 1-0 against Hanwha at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on the 2nd. At that time, Lotte took a 1-0 lead due to the pitching of the pitchers and the timely hit of “transfer student” Son Ho-young, but when closer Kim Won-joong was shaken in the bottom of the ninth inning, Lotte’s bench displayed a bold winning move that carried out a grand slam operation even though it was a no-out, and eventually secured a 1-0 lead to win.

However, given Lotte’s recent performance, it seems that the manager does not even give room to intervene. The same applies to the game against Kiwoom in Gocheok on Wednesday when Lotte lost 4-9. As starter Park Se-woong had 11 hits in early four innings, the team collapsed by allowing seven runs (six earned runs) and the batter’s box remained scoreless until the sixth inning, the manager had no choice. In fact, he scored four runs en masse in the top of the seventh inning, but had Yoo Kang-nam’s infield fly ball not made an error, he had to be satisfied with bringing in two runs.

Lotte ended up falling to the bottom as its frustrating performance continued. Even after recruiting the ‘winning contractor’ with the best career in the KBO league, he is being humiliated. It is still April, but Lotte’s fall to the bottom was unexpected. It is a matter for Lotte to think hard about why it has come to this point. 노래방알바


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