The biggest shock of the 2024 KBO Secondary Draft, which took place on April 22, was Hanwha’s selection of SSG outfielder Kim Kang-min (41). Kim, who has spent 23 years with SSG since 2001 when he was with SK, is the oldest active player in the KBO along with Choo Shin-soo and Oh Seung-hwan, and will turn 42 next year. Because of his age, no one expected him to be selected in the second round of the draft. He became the oldest player ever drafted in the second round, surpassing 40-year-old infielder Choi Dong-soo, who was selected in the third round (19th overall) by LG from SK in November 2011.
Hanwha’s surprise selection of Kim Kang-min, who was on the cusp of extending his career and retiring, has caused confusion. According to the rules, there is nothing wrong with this pick. The SSG removed him from the 35-man protected list, and there was no public announcement or notation of the retirement offer. While Hanwha’s conversion of top pitcher Jung Woo-ram to a playing coach was a de facto pre-retirement signal to the outside world, 바카라사이트 SSG’s handling of Kim Kang-min was far too complacent.
First and foremost, Hanwha places a very high value on Kim Kang-min as a player.
After receiving the second round draft list after the Korean Series, the front office and the field agreed to select Kim in the fourth or fifth round. With the signing of Jonathan Peraza, who is expected to be a corner outfielder, and the lack of specialized middle infielders, Kim was needed.
Hanwha general manager Son Hyuk said, “I think Kim Kang-min’s value is high, both in the present and the future. He can be a starter, and we don’t have that kind of resources as a center fielder or a pinch hitter. He can play for another year or two. It’s too early to retire.”
Son continued, “People keep saying that our outfield defense is weak. If Kim Kang-min, who is one of the top two outfielders in Korea, comes, the defense of the younger players can be upgraded. A coach can teach you something, but what you see and feel in the same player is different. That’s why we chose Kim Kang-min for his current and future value.”
Son had seen Kim up close when he was SK’s pitching coach in 2018 and 2019.
There were a few things that stuck in his mind.
“There are a lot of memorable things about him. When the players were taking batting practice, they would go out to the outfield and practice taking the first step after listening to the sound of the ball and making a judgment, and he told me that he had been doing that since he was a kid. Another time, when we went to an extension, he said, ‘It’s good to spare the pitcher, but I want you to think about the guys who are standing there for four hours. I think that’s something that’s going to be valuable to our team in a lot of ways.” Hanwha needs Kim’s strong presence to pass on his defensive know-how to the younger players and to speak up for the team as a whole.
“We don’t have many experienced outfielders,” said Hanwha coach Choi Won-ho, who is leading the team’s final camp in Miyazaki, Japan. Lee Jin-young, Choi In-ho, and Kim Tae-yeon did a good job this year, but we don’t know what will happen next year. It’s hard to see them as constants yet. If these players are not performing well or are injured, we need to be prepared with experienced players as replacements and not with unclear players. When you have a player like Kim Kang-min, you can solve any problem. Younger players can also learn from his know-how.”
Hanwha head coach Jung Kyung-bae, who has watched Kim for many years as an SSG coach, still sees his value.
“From what I’ve seen recently, he’s in good shape, and I think he’ll be a good addition to our team. Although his fielding range is somewhat narrower than in his prime, his throwing ability and batting judgment are still at the top of the league. “Off the field, he’s a great role model for our younger players, and his batting has gotten more seasoned as he’s gained more experience. I think he will lead our younger players well.”
However, there is a possibility that Kim may decide to retire from active play. He has received an offer from SSG for a retirement game and coaching training, and is considering it. Kim is expected to announce his decision soon. Son, 토토사이트 who will try to convince Kim, said, “A player of this caliber should think about it. I will respect any decision. I don’t want to put any pressure on him. I want him to make a decision with peace of mind.” While being respectful, he added, “Our team values Kim Kang-min very highly as a player. We definitely need him.”
Choi also said, “I hope he can come to our team and pass on his experience and know-how to the juniors and help them grow. We can’t ignore his experience and know-how as a player. “We also have coaches Jung Kyung-bae and Park Jae-sang who know him well,” Choi said, “and if he plays well on defense, he can compete for a starting spot. I don’t think it will be too difficult for him to adapt. I hope he will be the final spark in our team,” he said.