As mid-January passes, the KBO League FA market is also moving rapidly. Seven players signed contracts in the new year. As the spring camp approaches in February, they are stamping their seals one by one.
Starting with KIA Kim Sun-bin’s first contract of the new year on the 4th, Samsung’s Lim Chang-min on the 5th and Samsung’s Kim Dae-woo on the 8th. After Lee Ji-young was signed and traded to SSG on the 12th, SSG Kim Min-sik and Samsung’s Oh Seung-hwan announced the contract one after another on the 16th. Contracts are being made one after another on the 17th, including Samsung’s Kang Han-ul.
Now there are only three players left in the FA market. Pitchers Hong Gun-hee (32), Soju (29), and infielder Kim Min-sung (36) are still not under contract. Hong Gun-hee and Soju are in A grade, while Kim Min-sung are in B grade, which means they have a limited range of movements.헤라카지노
The FA market is quite tight this year. With the opening of the FA in mid-November, big-time players such as Jeon Joon-woo (Lotte), An Chi-hong (Hanwha), Kim Jae-yoon (KT), and Yang Seok-hwan (Doosan) decided their destinations at the speed of their decision, resulting in a flurry of contracts with a large number of options for semi-quick players.
As time goes by, the team seems to be getting more favorable to the team. Catcher Kim Min-sik was initially offered a contract worth 1 billion won for three to four years by his original team SSG, but he did not sign the contract. When SSG suddenly recruited Lee Ji-young and was left with nowhere to go, he signed the contract, which was drastically reduced to 500 million won for two years.
In the past, conditions would have risen if a player held out time, but it is literally an old story. The market structure and atmosphere have changed. As salary cap, which is a cap on the total amount of team salaries, has been introduced in earnest since last year, it is difficult for clubs to spend money easily. Nine clubs, excluding Kiwoom, are approaching the cap on salary cap (11.4 billion won, 26.38 million won), which will be applied until 2025. Not only this year, but also next year’s annual salary must be calculated in detail. You cannot waste even a penny.
It is impossible to give players a pork-barreling contract in order to boost their self-esteem. Self-objectification has become more important for players as well. It has already been proven that there is no good in dragging on time in the FA market last year. NC`s Kwon Hee-dong (up to 125 million won per year), who signed a contract after January, and Lee Myung-ki (up to 100 million won per year), who was signed and traded to Hanwha, had to accept the harsh conditions. Kiwoom’s Jung Chan-heon signed a two-year, 860 million won (820,000 U.S. dollars) contract ahead of the season’s opening in late March, but Kang Ri-ho (former Kang Yoon-koo) could not find a team and retired.
Gone are the days of long-term competition. Even before the salary cap era, it was difficult to get a good contract as the timing got later. Except for Kim Min-sung (up to 1.8 billion won for three years), who was signed and traded from Kiwoom to LG in March 2019, and Lee Yong-chan (up to 2.7 billion won for three plus one year) who signed with NC during the May 2021 season, he had to sign contracts for less than two years and less than 900 million won with a guarantee.
In the worst-case scenario, it could end up as an FA MIA. Prior to Kang Li-ho, Noh Jang-jin, Cha Myeong-ju, Lee Do-hyung in 2011, Yong Deok-han in 2017, Lee Woo-min in 2018, and Son Seung-rak in 2020 retired without signing a contract after applying for FA.
Some players skipped a year and signed contracts. Choi Young-pil, a pitcher who became an “FA vagabond” from Hanwha in 2011 and went through Mexican and independent leagues, moved to SK in 2012 when Hanwha gave up its right to compensate players. Noh Kyung-eun (SSG) also signed a two-year, 1.1 billion won contract with Lotte after staying invincible for one year due to the collapse of FA negotiations with Lotte in 2019. Both players either had long runs or are doing long runs, but it is a waste of a one-year absence.
The longer a player has no contract with the FA, the harder it is for him or her. For now, it is hard to concentrate on individual sports. If he or she joins the camp later, his or her preparation for the season will also be disrupted. There is no FA deadline, but if the spring camp starts at the end of January, only the players will feel nervous.