I heard ‘Donseong’ 18 years ago… Oh Ji-hwan, the gold price era of shortstop

18 years ago, I heard the sound of ‘Donseong’…

Encouraged by the runner-up in the 2004 Korean Series, the Samsung leadership threw a winning move in the 2004-2005 offseason. It was the beginning of the appointment of director Kim Eung-yong’s president Yeong-jeon and head coach Seon Dong-yeol’s head coach. And he gave director Seon Dong-yeol an unforgettable gift. In the free agency market, they spent a whopping 9.9 billion won to catch Shim Jeong-soo (4 years, 6 billion won) and Park Jin-man (4 years, 3.9 billion won).

The reality is that the financial value cannot be compared with the size of the recent FA market, which casually spends more than 10 billion won on a top-notch star. As of 18-19 years ago, a specific club’s investment of 9.9 billion won was unprecedented. As a result, this investment led to the birth of the nickname ‘Donseong’.

It is true that at the time, the perception that excessive investment in the FA market was ‘trying to buy a championship with money’ was widespread. In the early days of introducing free agency, there was a strong perception that free agency itself was a privilege for superstars. In particular, there was a gaze that could not accept the investment of 3.9 billion won in a shortstop who was treated well even if he was good at defense.

4th hitter, not an ace, but a 3.9 billion won contract for a central infielder free agent. As a result, Samsung coach Park Jin-man won the hearts of fans with his skills. In 2005, injuries limited him to 85 appearances. However, in 2006 he had a batting average of 0.283 with 11 homers and 65 RBIs in 115 games, and in 2007 he had a batting average of 0.312 with 7 homers and 56 RBIs in 100 games. He was still in the net defense, and it was a time when he was active as the 5th hitter. The national shortstop was born that way. 헤라카지노

Many years have passed. In the meantime, the increase in the ransom of shortstops has been slow compared to other positions. Coach Park’s 3.9 billion won contract was the highest ransom for a shortstop for a while. Then, Kim Jae-ho (Doosan) surpassed Park’s total in the 2016-2017 free agent market with a 4-year, 5 billion won contract.

Noh Jin-hyeok (Lotte) signed a 4-year, 5 billion won contract in the 2022-2023 free agent market and tied for first place for the highest amount of shortstops. Oh Ji-hwan (LG) of the world also signed a contract for 4 years and 4 billion won in the 2019-2020 FA market. There were quite a few decent shortstops, even if they didn’t match Park’s aura in his prime. There was quite a prospect that Kang Jung-ho or Kim Ha-seong (San Diego Padres) would have changed the game if they had a long run in the KBO League, but it did not materialize.

In the end, Oh Ji-hwan wrote a new history. On the 19th, he signed a non-FA multi-year contract with LG for 6 years and 12.4 billion won. Still, based on free agency contracts, the highest amount for a shortstop is Kim Jae-ho and Noh Jin-hyuk’s 5 billion won. However, Oh Ji-hwan signed a contract from 2024 to 2029 in advance of his free agent requalification by one year. In fact, it is safe to say that it is an FA contract.

Oh Ji-hwan’s 12.4 billion won contract is another case in which Oh Ji-hwan was recognized as the No. 1 shortstop in the KBO League. It also means that now you can put your name on the lineage of a large shortstop representing Korean baseball. At 20-20 in Jamsil, I do not miss the 1st or 2nd place in various defensive indicators. Even coach Park Jin-man said “Oh Ji-hwan is the best shortstop in Korea” several times in the 2022 season when he was acting manager.

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