‘Lee Jeong-hoo injury → Choi Won-tae trade’ Kiwoom chose to strengthen the other line and the future… “We haven’t given up on the season yet.”
Kiwoom Heroes traded starting pitcher Choi Won-tae (26).
On the 29th, Kiwoom announced, “We received infielder Lee Joo-hyung and pitcher Kim Dong-gyu from the LG. Twins The right to pick the first round of the 2024. Rookie draft, and made a trade to give away pitcher Won-tae Choi.”
Choi Won-tae is recording an average ERA of 3.25 with 6 wins and 4 losses in 17 games (102⅓ innings) this season. Since his 2016 debut, he has been building a career-high season with the lowest earned run average.
However, Kiwoom eventually decided to let Choi Won-tae go. This is because key players such as Eric Yokishi, Edison Russell, and Won Jong-hyun left the team due to injuries one after another or were out of season, and on the 22nd, even the leading hitter Lee Jung-hoo underwent ankle surgery and was out of power for three months. It is not expected that it will be easy for Lee Jung-hoo to return this season.
Moreover, Choi Won-tae is facing free agency after the season ends next year. Due to the nature of the club without a parent company, it is realistically difficult for Kiwoom to catch Choi Won-tae in the FA market. In addition, since Jang Jae-young entered the starting rotation and Jeong Chan-heon, who was missing from the starting rotation in the second half, there is no big problem in operating the starting rotation after Choi Won-tae trade.
Combining various circumstances, Kiwoom made the decision to trade Choi Won-tae. Koh Hyung-wook, general manager of Kiwoom, said, “Unfortunately, Lee Jung-hoo was injured when Ronnie Dawson came and tried to increase the offensive power. However, he couldn’t give up the season, so he brought Lee Joo-hyung. He is a well-rated player. He explained the background of the trade of Choi Won-tae, saying, “There is pain in Choi Won-tae’s departure, but the starting lineup still has Jung Chan-heon, so it is possible to reinforce it enough.” “Two or three days ago, LG contacted me to see if it was possible to trade Choi Won-tae. We replied that we would review it, and after talking, the trade was concluded.”
Lee Joo-hyeong, one of the key players in this trade, is recording a batting average of .267 (4 hits in 15 at-bats) and 2 RBIs, OPS .713 in 18 games this season. As a player who was nominated in the 2nd round (13th place) of the 2020 rookie draft, he is a promising player who has received a lot of expectations from LG. General Manager Koi Hyeong-wook said, “Lee Joo-hyeong is a player who was highly evaluated in LG. LG was able to give such a player because they are looking at only one place now.” “It may take time to grow, but a baseball player never knows when his potential will burst. He may be able to act faster than I thought,” he said, looking forward to Lee Joo-hyung’s performance.
Kiwoom currently ranks 9th in the league with a win rate of .456 from 41 wins, 3 draws and 49 losses. However, it is not yet at the level of giving up on advancing to the postseason with a 3.5 game difference from 5th place KT (42 wins, 2 draws, 43 losses).
General manager Ko Hyeong-wook emphasized, “We are not yet in a big gap in the postseason qualifiers,” and added, “We cannot give up the season yet. You have to do your best. I prepared really hard this year, but there were many injuries to the main players, so I fell into the bottom ranks. It’s now the end of July, but I decided to make such a difficult trade to do my best. I will try to the end,” he said, expressing his will to challenge fall baseball.