The baseball free agency market has gone cold. It’s been more than ten days since the last free agent signing, with only the occasional news of a foreign free agent. It will be interesting to see if the market warms up around the Golden Glove Awards on November 11.
The early signs were promising. As soon as the transfer market opened on March 19, four deals were signed in quick succession. The first was Lotte Giants outfielder Jeon Jun-woo. On the second day of the official opening of negotiations, he put his stamp on a four-year, up to 4.7 billion won deal with his original team, including incentives. Ahn Chi-hong’s surprise move to the Hanwha Eagles and veteran pinch-hitter Ko Jong-wook’s retention by the KIA Tigers followed. KT Wiz reliever Kim Jae-yoon joined the Samsung Lions.헤라카지노
In December, the tide turned. On the 30th of the month, Yasoo Max-er Yang Seok-hwan agreed to stay with the Doosan Bears for 4+2 years and up to 7.8 billion won, followed by more than ten days of no signings. The year ended with various awards and club events, but the transfer market was quiet. LG Twins left-hander Ham Deok-ju’s request for a background check by the Major League Baseball office was the only hot topic.
Fourteen of the 19 free agents have yet to sign contracts. That’s 13 if you exclude Oh Ji-hwan, who filed for free agency as part of a strategy to prepare for the second round of the draft. This is a much slower pace than in previous years. Last winter, 14 of the 21 free agent-eligible players, or two-thirds of them, signed before the Golden Glove ceremony.
This year, several unsigned players are in demand. Class A candidates Hong Gun-hee (Doosan) and Joo Kwon (KT) are waiting in the wings, as well as this year’s winningest native pitcher, Im Chan-kyu (LG). Negotiations are also underway for Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung) and Kim Sun-bin (KIA), who are weighed heavily in favor of staying, given their age, but who are not out of the running in terms of name value alone.
It’s still too early to worry about the free agent crisis. There are observers who believe that the Golden Glove ceremony will speed up negotiations.
The same goes for the foreign player signings, which are still a long way off. Several teams have yet to sign a single player. LG and KT are in a better position. They signed Austin Dean and Casey Kelly and Mel Rojas Jr. and William Cuevas, respectively, to ease their worries.
Kiwoom Heroes announced on the same day that it had re-signed Ronnie Dawson for a total of $600,000. Dawson, who arrived in South Korea in July as a substitute, batted .336 with three home runs and 29 RBIs in 57 games.
“I’m excited to play in the KBO again,” Dawson said, “and I’ll do my best to help the team win more games.”