How much should the Lotte Giants pay their top two pitchers?

The salary cap is nearing its limit, but they’re also irreplaceable free agents. How much should the Lotte Giants pay their top two pitchers, Koo Seung-min (34) and Kim Won-joong (31)?

Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong will be eligible for free agency after the 2024 season. Koo Seung-min will be eligible for free agency in his 12th year after graduating from Hongik University, where he was drafted in the sixth round in 2013. Kim Won-joong, who was drafted in the first round in 2012 out of Gwangju Dongseong High School, will be eligible for free agency in his 13th year.

The two players, who joined the team at different times, have been close friends since their time in the second team. They grew up trusting and relying on each other. They went through some difficult times, but they managed to overcome them and became a must-win duo. Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong have the most years of service among Lotte’s pitching staff. The two players have taken on the role of de facto pitchers, leading a young pitching staff. Together, they reached the 100-hold and 100-save milestones that no one else in Lotte has ever achieved.

Koo Seung-min reached 100 career saves on July 26 last year against Doosan in Jamsil.

It was a first for the LOTTE club. His current record of 108 holds is the most in the franchise and is still in progress. He has also recorded 20 holds in four consecutive years, something only two other players in KBO history have done. Despite struggling with a shoulder injury this year, he finished with a 2-6 record, 3 saves, 22 holds and a 3.96 ERA in 67 games and 63⅔ innings pitched.

Kim Won-joong also reached 100 career saves on August 16 last year. He surpassed the 100-save mark four years after switching to the closer role in 2020. 카지노사이트 He currently has 107 saves. In 63 games and 63⅔ innings last year, he finished with a 5-6 record and 30 saves with a 2.97 ERA. Completed his second 30-save season of his career. Recorded the most innings pitched and struck out a career-high 82 batters since converting to the closer’s role. After a brief injury setback in 2022, he had his most reliable season as a closer this year.

They now await evaluation as prospective free agents.

The value of bullpen arms in free agency is low. Salary cap issues may prevent them from commanding a high market price. If a team has a shaky bullpen, they might be worth a look. However, the team that needs Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong the most is Lotte. Their salary cap issues may prevent them from commanding a high market price.

In their absence, the only reliable bullpen option is Kim Sang-soo and Choi Jun-yong. Kim Sang-soo rejuvenated last year, but he’s in his late 30s, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he struggles at some point. Choi is still a question mark for a full season due to his frequent injuries. Park Jin-hyung has just been released from social service and Lee Min-seok is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Kim Do-gyu, who showed promise for the 2022 season, struggled last year. Kim Jin-wook, Hong Min-ki, Lee Jin-ha, and Woo Kang-hoon are unproven resources, and rookies like Jeon Mir and Jeong Hyun-soo are even more unproven. Imagine a bullpen without Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong, and Lotte’s woes multiply.

Lotte needs to think about preliminary free agent premiums. You can’t help but think about the compensation for a free agent transfer. Koo Seung-min earned 248.6 million won this year and Kim Won-joong earned 252 million won. Even if you don’t take into account the fact that they are preliminary free agents, there is a small increase in terms of compensation.

However, Lotte can’t give them a free pass just because they’re free agents.

Lotte’s team salary is close to the salary cap limit. The salary cap, which was first implemented last year, is set at 120 percent of the sum of the top 40 salaries of each team (salaries, option payments, and average annual contracts for free agents, excluding foreign players and rookies) for the two-year period through 2021-2022. This amount is 11.4268 billion won. Lotte posted a total salary cap of 10.646 billion won last year. This is KRW 779.91 million less than the upper limit of the salary cap. The salary cap utilization rate was 93.2%. The fourth highest total salary among the 10 teams.

They were unable to sign free agent infielder Ahn Chi-hong because of the salary cap. Given their roles and importance to the team, and the availability of replacements, Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong are irreplaceable, and losing them would darken Lotte’s future. Losing the core of the back end would defeat the purpose of signing a three-year contract with “championship hitter” coach Kim Tae-hyung. Lotte needs to maintain a minimum of strength, and Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong are at the center of that.

Their free agent market value will be determined at a later date, but we do have some reference points. Kim Jae-yoon, who has 169 career saves, left KT for Samsung in free agency and signed a four-year contract totaling 5.8 billion won (2 billion won down payment, 2.8 billion won in total salary, and 1 billion won in incentives). Kim Jae-yoon could be a reference point for Kim Won-joong. For Koo Seung-min, bullpen free agent Hong Gun-hee, who has yet to sign a contract, is expected to be a barometer for the future. Hong has 49 saves and 44 holds in his career, and this year he has 22 saves and five holds.

What level of salary should Lotte set for Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong, both prospective free agents?

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