Lee Ji-young, “A new start from SSG.” “Where I failed the test before… I didn’t expect to return to Incheon.”

) Veteran catcher Lee Ji-young will enter the 2024 season at SSG Landers. He will return to Incheon, where he first started baseball.

Kiwoom Heroes, Lee Ji-young’s original fastball team, announced on the 12th that it signed a two-year FA contract with catcher Lee Ji-young, who is eligible for free agency (FA), for a total of 400 million won (350 million won per year, 50 million won option) and then traded with SSG.

SSG, which received Lee Ji-young through the trade, gave Kiwoom 250 million won in cash and the third round of the 2025 rookie draft. SSG explained that it pushed for the trade to reinforce the catcher’s staff and stabilize the pitching staff.

After graduating from Seohwa Elementary School, Shinheung Middle School, Jemulpo High School and Kyungsung University, Lee Ji-young joined the Samsung Lions as a training player in 2008, and made six hits in 28 times at bat in 23 games with a batting average of 0.214 and four RBIs. Afterwards, he resolved military issues at the military athletic unit in Sangmu, and after returning to his team, he added weight to Samsung’s home turf.

Lee Ji-young recorded a batting average of 0.304 13 home runs and an OPS of 0.669 in 2012 with 41 hits in 135 at-bats in 54 games, and 64 hits in 268 at-bats in 113 games and 0.239 18 RBIs in OPS 0.539 and 74 hits in 266 at-bats in 99 games, respectively, with a batting average of 0.278 with three home runs and 32 RBIs in OPS 0.687 in 2013 and 2014.

In 2015, when he became a full-time catcher, he recorded 110 hits in 361 at-bats in 124 games with a batting average of 0.305 with one home run and 55 RBIs OPS of 0.679. The following year, he performed his part with 116 hits in 390 at-bats in 129 games with a batting average of 0.297 with seven home runs and 50 RBIs OPS of 0.710.

Lee Ji-young, who has been playing in Samsung’s uniform all the time, moved to Kiwoom through a triangular trade between Samsung, Kiwoom and SSG after the 2018 season. He also performed well after moving to the team and received a passing score with a batting average of 0.282 with one home run and 39 RBIs OPS of 0.727 in 106 games in 2019. As a result, he signed an FA contract with Kiwoom for a total of 1.8 billion won, including a three-year period, a down payment of 300 million won, an annual salary of 300 million won, and an option of 600 million won (based on a maximum of three years).

Lee Ji-young contributed greatly to Kiwoom’s postseason performance by starting all games from the semi-playoff to the Korean Series in 2022, and was selected as a member of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team in 2023.

Lee Ji-young fought hard last season with 54 hits in 217 at-bats for 217 games with a batting average of 0.249 with eight RBIs and an OPS of 0.586, but failed to show off her previous skills. Opportunities were also lower than in previous years. There was little progress in FA negotiations, and eventually Lee was preparing for the 2024 season with a new team.

Lee Ji-young said in a phone call with X-Sports News later in the day, “I feel special to be able to return to my hometown and spend the end of my baseball life, and I’m glad to be able to start again with a new mind.”

“I took a test at SK (current SSG) before joining Samsung as a training player, and I didn’t know that I would come back to Incheon after failing to pass the test. It is very new and exciting,” he added.

“[Coach] came and said thank you and let’s do well,” Lee Ji-young said after the trade. “Kim Jae-hyun, the general manager of the team, said he wanted to recruit him because he was a very good player and he spoke well about his value and self as a player. I feel more reassured and grateful that he moved to the team.”헤라카지노도메인

Currently, there are many young catchers in the team. Cho Hyung-woo, Park Dae-on, and Shin Bum-soo have played for a long time in the main league, but they still lack experience compared to Lee Ji-young, who played in more than 1,000 games. As such, Lee may feel a sense of responsibility as a veteran.

First of all, Lee’s first goal is to adapt. “I think I have to adapt to the pitches of pitchers first, and I think I have to get a lot of pitches in the spring camp. Since there are many good pitchers in the SSG, I will try to analyze all the pitches and lead the pitchers,” Lee said. “I think the first thing I do is to just adapt quickly to the team, rather than having a sense of responsibility. If I try harder in the front and show good performances, rather than talking to the players, I think the players will follow me while watching those things on their own. I think I need to show how hard I have played baseball as I have done so far,” Lee said.

There are also many players who can help her adjust. “Kim Sung-hyun was with me in Sangmu, and Jihoon Choi participated in WBC together last year. The same applies to (Choi)jung and (Kim) Kwang-hyun. If (Han)Yuseom is like me, I know that she is a junior in college,” he said.

Lee Ji-young’s joining has not put an end to the home turf competition at SSG. Asked whether Lee will take up a significant portion of the team, SSG General Manager Kim Jae-hyun also said, “We have to wait and see. I’m looking forward to that, because some players are constantly improving, while others are trying to protect them,” hoping for a virtuous cycle rather than a simple performance.

“Regardless of my age, my skills come first on the field. I have to work hard and try to do better in order not to lose in a position where I have to compete with my juniors,” Lee said. “Since I started exercising early in November, I have created a physical condition that I can maintain without losing speed.”

“I think the first thing I’ve been able to play consistently is that I didn’t get sick and didn’t get hurt. I think all I have to do is keep working hard. And I just think that I should lead the young catchers and pitchers in the team well,” he said, stressing his role.

Lee Ji-young’s year 2023 was full of disappointing moments. She played in more than 100 games for four consecutive years from 2019, but she played only 81 games last year, and her performance declined over time. There were many unsatisfactory parts in many ways.

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