According to a person familiar with SSG’s internal affairs, Lee recently asked the organization to release him.
SSG selected two catchers in the second round of the draft on April 22. Park Dae-on, who played for the NC Dinos, and Shin Beom-soo, who was with the KIA Tigers. The team decided that they lacked catcher resources.굿모닝토토
SSG also has a power outflow. Veteran infielder Choi Joo-hwan, outfielder Choi Hang, and pitcher Cho Sung-hoon are leaving the team. Choi Joo-hwan and Choi Sung-hoon are headed to the Kiwoom Heroes and Choi Hang to the Lotte Giants. Kim Kang-min, who will turn 42 next year, was designated for assignment by the Hanwha Eagles. He’s at an age where it wouldn’t be strange if he decided to retire right away. SSG didn’t think any team would pick him up, so they kept him on the 35-man protected list.
Lee Jae-won was also not placed on the 35-man roster. Prior to the second round of the draft, Lee Jae-won made the difficult decision to leave his team of 18 years to find a new team with the intention of extending his contract. He decided there was no place for him in the organization.
SSG offered to meet with Lee and catcher Lee Heung-ryun separately after the draft to discuss the situation. However, the situation did not change. On the afternoon of the 23rd, Lee met with general manager Kim Sung-yong and once again expressed his wishes. The club decided to respect his wishes.
Lee Jae-won, a native of Incheon High School, entered the professional scene in 2006 after being drafted by SSG’s predecessor, SK. He was the first pick at the time. He was considered one of the most capable catchers in high school, both in terms of hitting and defense. Much was expected of him, and in his first year as a rookie, he batted 3-for-1 with three doubles and four RBIs in 23 games. The following year, he began to make his presence felt, batting 3-for-3 with three home runs and 21 RBIs in 66 games.
In 2007 and 2008, SK won the regular season and Korean Series titles to complete the sweep. Lee was the centerpiece of the SK dynasty. Despite the fact that there was no room for him in the lineup with the likes of Park Kyung-wan and Jung Sang-ho, Lee was given a chance in the first team, which is a testament to his skill.
In 2009, SK lost the Korean Series to KIA, but in 2010, the team won the regular season and the Korean Series again. Lee batted 3-for-4 in 24 games in 2009 and 2-for-5 in 54 games in 2010.
Lee Jae-won has been the starting catcher since 2014, when he batted .333 with 12 home runs and 83 RBIs in 120 games. While he was recognized as an offensive catcher, he was also a reliable pitcher’s leadoff man, earning the trust of his teammates.
He peaked in 2015 when he batted .288 with 17 home runs and 100 RBIs in 140 games. In the 2018 season, he served as captain and led the team well as the starting catcher, helping the team win the Korean Series. After the 2018 championship, Lee became a free agent and signed a four-year, 6.9 billion won contract. In his first year as a free agent, Lee had a decent 2019, batting .266 with 12 home runs and 75 RBIs in 139 games.