The success of strengthening outfield depth immediately opened the way to reinforce infield depth. Kiwoom Heroes confirms the foreign batter’s position for the 2023 season as ‘shortstop’ and once again challenges to win the first Korean Series.
On the 12th, Kiwoom announced that it had completed a contract with Edison Russell for a total of 700,000 dollars (approximately 910 million won). At the end of last month, the new foreign pitcher Ariel Furado was recruited for 1 million dollars (approximately 1.3 billion won), followed by ace Eric Yokishi for a total of 1.5 million dollars (approximately 1.96 billion won), completing all homework for the Stove League.
Russell is no stranger to Kiwoom and KBO fans. After making his big league debut with the Chicago Cubs in 2015, Russell made a big success with 21 home runs and 95 RBIs in 2016, helping the team win the World Series. Although his career began to decline the following year, it was expected that he would show good performance in Korea as he was a full-time major league shortstop for five consecutive years.
However, after joining Kiwoom in the middle of the 2020 season, his performance was sluggish with an OPS of 0.653 with a batting 토토 average of 0.254, 62 hits, 2 homers, 31 RBIs and 2 steals in 65 games. His hitting wasn’t sharp and his defense didn’t feel stable. Even when he left Kiwoom due to his failure to renew his contract, he seemed unlikely to reconnect with the KBO.
However, Kiwoom chose the adventure of dropping Russell as the starting shortstop next season. Yasiel Puig, who was initially likely to renew the contract, seemed to be looking for an outfielder and first baseman in a situation where the company ended due to personal privacy issues, but Kiwoom gave Russell a second chance.
Kiwoom was able to sign a contract with Russell for two main reasons. First, by recruiting first-team outfielder Lee Hyeong-jong as a free agent for the Futures, conditions were created to minimize Puig’s vacancy. Lee Hyeong-jong has been through ups and downs for the past two years, but if he plays full-time in good health, he is a hitter who can expect a double-digit home run and 60 RBIs this season.
The existence of Lim Byeong-wook, who returned from military service in Sangmu, was also taken into account. It is difficult to label him a “prospect” anymore, but he was born in 1995 and is still young
. As it was a core resource that was evaluated as having more potential than Kim Ha-seong at the time of the first nomination in 2014, it is expected to be used to some extent next year.
In addition, it was necessary to have backup agents such as veterans Lee Yong-kyu and Kim Jun-wan, who can do enough for one person in defense and base base, and to allow young players who have been in the team for 2 to 3 years to gain first-team experience.
This year, shortstop prospects such as Kim Hui-jip and Shin Jun-woo showed potential, but given their lack of experience in the postseason, it was also considered that a more reliable shortstop was needed.
Ko Hyeong-wook, general manager of Kiwoom Kiwoom, said, “I didn’t worry about the outfielder at all. I recruited Lee Hyeong-jong and Lim Byung-wook returned after being discharged. If Lee Jung-hoo takes center stage in center field, I don’t expect next year’s outfield operation to be that difficult.” , Kim Jun-wan, and Park Joo-hong and Park Chan-hyeok are outfielders who need to be developed.”
“While reinforcing foreign batters, I thought about which position would be most suitable, and I think I brought in the players I really needed,” he said. I chose Russell because I thought I could do it,” he explained.