Lotte, who became tougher, crossed the irreversible Rubicon River with ‘FA lost child’ Kang Ri-ho

February 2, 2023 0 Comments

 Lotte Giants and Kang Ri-ho (33, former name Kang Yun-gu) seem to have crossed the irreversible Rubicon River.

Kang Ri-ho, who became a free agent after last season, is currently one of four players who have not found a team along with Lee Myung-gi, Kwon Hee-dong, and Jeong Chan-heon.

After joining Heroes as the first designated player in 2009, he moved to Lotte in 2021 through NC and obtained FA qualification. He is a C-class free agent who is relatively free to transfer without a compensation player. As before, the strength of the fireballer is gone, but the advantage of being a left-handed pitcher is clear. In particular, Lotte is a club with a weak left-handed pitcher lineup. Having Kang Ri-ho can make pitching management relatively easier.

Initially, Lotte recommended Kang Ri-ho to give up his FA rights and sign a contract. However, he shook it off and exercised his FA qualifications. Exercising the right not to come back is entirely the player’s decision. Even after that, Lotte offered Kang Ri-ho a one-year, one-year contract under the same conditions as last year’s annual salary (73 million won).

Although he is a free agent player, he recorded an average ERA of 5.48 (21⅓ innings) without a win or hold in 29 games last year. Other than being a left-handed pitcher, he didn’t contribute much to his team. The WAR (contribution to victory over substitute players) measured by the baseball statistics site 안전놀이터 ‘Staties’ was only -0.07.

Lotte’s presentation conditions did not change. Instead, Kang Ri-ho was going to accept it if he revealed his intention to return. However, at the end of last month, starting from the Lunar New Year holiday, the mood of the Lotte team changed. Rumor has it that the negotiation process is close to being in pain rather than pain. Kang Ri-ho’s side requested the release of the holding right after a one-year contract. Lotte took the position that there was no hesitation about the cancellation of the reservation. However, as Kang Ri-ho’s negotiating attitude was raised as a problem within the club, the negotiations virtually stopped. And it is an atmosphere that leads to a complete collapse of negotiations.

On the morning of the 2nd, a media outlet reported Kang Ri-ho’s position. Kang Ri-ho’s side said that after a one-year contract, he demanded that he be released as a free agent by canceling the retention right, but Lotte refused. Kang Ri-ho’s side argued that the KBO rules were unfair. KBO Rules, Chapter 17, Article 164 ‘Reacquisition of FA Qualifications’ stipulated in ‘Reacquisition of FA Qualifications’ allows for reacquisition of FA qualifications in the case of four years of regular season activity from the date of registration as a member player after exercising FA rights. It is referring to the unfairness of the rule that the team has the right to hold for 4 years even if the FA contract is less than 4 years.

Regarding this, the Lotte club refrained from making official comments. However, from Lotte’s point of view, as long as the player’s side exercised the FA right, it can be argued that the club’s side is also exercising the right within the rules. In the end, the noise from the recent negotiation process caused a stir inside the club, and it changed to a tough stance that even the terms of the contract previously presented to Kang Ri-ho could be canceled.

Lotte said, “Spring camp has already begun. I will run and manage the first team with the current personnel,” he said indirectly, saying that he had no intention of contracting with Kang Ri-ho. It seems there is no longer a place for Kang Ri-ho in Lotte. And even within the KBO league, Kang Ri-ho’s place is gradually disappearing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.