Guaranteed win check Tae-gun mama, good person -> PS catcher -> Happy ending to wandering career?

July 10, 2023 0 Comments

The Tigers’ new victory check, Tae-goon Mama Kim (KIA) is one of baseball’s so-called “good guys”.

His career has been filled with ups and downs. But he’s been welcomed and recognized as a good teammate everywhere he’s gone, thanks in part to his friendliness, good nature, and willingness to humble himself in order to smoothly integrate into a new team.

Today, Tae-gun is a starring role player again at KIA. His years of experience and solid fundamental abilities have turned him into a winning checkbook for KIA in his fourth professional uniform. Since switching jerseys from Samsung to KIA in a one-for-one trade for infielder Ryu Ji-hyuk on May 5, the team has won five straight games and moved up to sixth place in the standings.토토사이트

It was a complete turnaround from the worst possible situation, falling to ninth place. The team is still in a close race with the ninth-place Hanwha Eagles with two games in hand. However, it is significant for both the team and the player that the trade of Kim Tae-gun has created an atmosphere where they can climb back up from a situation where it was difficult to find hope.

It’s just one more player. But it’s also a big deal that Ahn Bang-man, the starting catcher, has changed. It changed the entire atmosphere of the KIA pitching staff in a short period of time.

Before the game against the Suwon KT Wiz on September 9, KIA manager Kim Jong-guk said, “I think the pitchers are more comfortable psychologically. “Especially in our bullpen, where we have a lot of young players, they are very willing,” he said, explaining the effect of having a veteran catcher.

Kim Tae-gun himself has been active in adjusting to the team. On the sixth day after his transfer, Kim said, “I received a lot of pitchers’ pitches (just one day after making his first start for KIA), and there are a lot of pitchers who throw fastballs in the low 140km/h range, so I’m looking forward to the future. I always want the pitchers to throw the ball confidently on the mound,” he said, expressing his confidence and motivation to fulfill his role as a catcher who will not only be a mentor for the pitchers but also a teammate.

The team is actually on a winning streak, so naturally their performance is bound to be good. But regardless, in the five games since Kim’s arrival, the KIA mound has been stout, with a team ERA of 1.80, tied for first in the league with the Doosan Bears.

It’s a small sample size, but it’s even smaller when you consider that from June, the month immediately preceding, to July 4, the day before Kim’s arrival, KIA suffered a serious mound collective slump, ranking ninth in duration with a 5.01 team ERA. The turnaround has been remarkable, and of course, the role of Kim Tae-gun, who wore the starting mask for four consecutive games starting on July 6, cannot be overlooked.

Kim Tae-gun has also been doing a great job at the plate. In five games, he’s batting .313 with one run and five RBIs. He doesn’t have a high slugging percentage or many multi-hit games yet. However, he has shown flashes of being a workhorse, including a four-game hitting streak from Game 5 to Game 8, when he pinch-hit on the day of the trade.

Manager Kim Jong-kook said, “Except for the first game when he pinch-hit, I watched three games, and he couldn’t hit when there were no runners on base. Instead, he always hits when he has a chance, so I don’t expect him to hit when there are no runners on base. But he always hits with runners on base, so I’m looking forward to it,” he smiled.

It’s a story that’s not well known outside the organization, but Kim is known as a “good guy” not only to his teammates, but also to the front office and officials. “Kim Tae-gun is one of the most personable baseball players I’ve ever met in my front office career,” said a Samsung official who met him on the field shortly after the trade was announced. “I think he was a very gentle, polite, and exemplary player, not only as a team senior and teammate, but also as a human being, so it’s a shame, but I wish him well at KIA.”

It’s not often that a reporter can give such high praise to a departed player. However, when you remember that Kim Tae-gun has always said that his goal is to be not only a good player but also a good person, even at his former team, the NC Dinos, you can’t help but nod in agreement with those who watched him closely.

Looking back at Kim’s career, there are actually more periods of shadow than light.

Drafted by the LG Twins in the third round of the 2008 KBO Draft at a relatively high pick of 17th overall, he spent five years as a backup catcher behind an established starter. Then, he received a special designation to the NC’s rookie team and started more than 100 games in 2013, and has been the perfect starting catcher since 2015.

However, after returning from military service to the National Police Agency Baseball Organization in 2018, Kim’s spot disappeared again when NC signed a national team catcher named Yang Yang-ji. He eventually became a free agent for the first time in the 2019 season, but he remained with NC as he was treated like a bargain considering the four-year, 1.3 billion won contract for a catcher.

Kim proved his worth by donning the catcher’s mask more often in 2021, and was traded for Shim Chang-min in December of that year. But even at Samsung, he couldn’t really establish himself in the shadow of the all-time great Kang Min-ho until this year, when he was traded to KIA.

A player with a longer career, in some ways, who has been a silent supporting player and backup catcher after a few short years of prime. However, Kim has always been considered to have the potential to be a starting catcher, so the move to KIA could be a chance for him to throw off his personal shackles.

If Kim can carry the “Taegun Mama effect” of the move into the fall and lead the Tigers’ PS, the next chapter could unfold.

Kim will once again be eligible for free agency after this season. However, Kia also lost multi-utility player Ryu Ji-hyeok in a trade, so they won’t be getting a player who will only be their starting catcher for half a season. Furthermore, if he continues to perform well, the team could consider a long-term contract.

The same goes for Kim Tae-gun. According to a source familiar with the player’s situation, Kim Tae-gun has also been actively considering various options, including a long-term contract, since he was traded to KIA.

The Tigers’ “Tae-gun” will be able to smile brightly at the end of his wandering career after playing as a mainstay of KIA’s fall baseball team in the “Hongryongpo” uniform.

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