“I’m not interested in recruiting Ham Deok-ju,” declares external FA withdrawal…I will raise Lotte’s ace younger brother, a left-handed pitcher who needs to win

KT Wiz, who realized the need for a left-handed bullpen pitcher through the 2023 Korean Series, decided to find left-handed pitchers through internal training rather than recruiting FA. Currently, there is Ham Deok-ju, the left-hander, in the FA market, but the possibility that KT will seek to recruit is virtually “zero.”

KT is the team with the most severe left-hand famine among the 10 clubs. In this Korean Series alone, foreign pitcher Wes Benjamin was the only left-hander in the 12-man pitcher entry, and it was in sharp contrast to LG, which has as many as four left-handers, including Ham Deok-ju, Kim Yoon-sik, Son Joo-young and Lee Woo-chan. 슬롯머신

Of course, KT is a team that has prevented left-handed hitters as right-handed pitchers since Cho Hyun-woo, who contributed to his first unified victory in 2021, was injured. However, in the 2023 Korean Series, he met the LG lineup, which had an overwhelming number of left-handed hitters, and desperately felt the need for a left-handed pitcher. If there was at least one left-hand specialist who would be responsible for the match, the direction of the series might have changed.

KT manager Lee Kang-chul said, “I wish we could have one left-handed pitcher who doesn’t use that (LG). I desperately need one left-handed pitcher. “Since Cho Hyun-woo is sick, we should somehow make or save a left-handed bullpen pitcher next year,” he expressed deep regret.

Unfortunately, Ham Deok-ju, a left-hander, appeared in the FA market at a time when a left-handed pitcher was needed. Ham Deok-ju, who boasts a career-high 397 games 35 wins, 21 losses, 59 saves, 49 holds and a 3.50 ERA (501 ⅔ innings 195 earned), has experienced wins in 2015, 2016, and 2019 in the past as a back door for the Doosan Dynasty, and traded to rival LG in 2021 to play a leading role in the twin corps’ 29-year combined victory this year.

However, KT officially declared its withdrawal from the external FA market after close discussions with the front office and the field. In the 2024 KBO second draft held on the 22nd, he also nominated right-handed pitchers Woo Kyu-min, Lee Tae-kyu and infielder Kim Chul-ho, not left-handed ones.

KT general manager Na Do-hyun, who met at the second draft site on the 22nd, said, “I’m not very interested in Ham Deok-ju at the moment. The same is true for the external FA, he said. “We are communicating with the field and focusing on internal fostering and returning injured players.”

We could also hear why he did not name a left-handed pitcher in the second draft. General manager Na said, “I thought a lot about the left-handed bullpen as well. “There were actually a few players who could be selected,” he said. “However, the coach suggested that it would be better to foster Park Se-jin, Jeon Yong-joo, and Kim Gun-woong than the players who are out now.” We also sympathized. “I thought it was more strategically valuable to pick Woo Kyu-min,” he explained.

As a result, KT will face the task of finding a new left-hander bullpen at next year’s spring camp. Park Se-jin, the younger brother of Lotte native ace Park Se-woong, is the first KT designation in 2016, Jeon Yong-joo is the first KT designation in 2019, and Kim Gun-woong is a left-handed prospect who was selected as the 40th pick in the fourth round of KT in 2023, all of which have the potential to take on one of the pillars of the bullpen. Among them, Park Se-jin, who has the most first-team experience, now seems to have to break the egg.

Meanwhile, KT, whose closing pitcher Kim Jae-yoon signed a FA contract with Samsung, showed its position that the remaining FA pitchers’ sovereignty must remain. “I recently met with an agent of sovereignty and freely exchanged opinions with each other,” Director Na said. “I think the sovereignty contract should take a long breath.” However, the stance of catching remains unchanged, he said.

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