Sung Min-kyu Process of ‘Three-Year Reconstruction’ “Now I’m going to win baseball.”
Now, is Lotte Giants’ “process” heading to a high place? Lotte showed a new ambition in the 2023 season.
Lotte general manager Sung Min-kyu (41) attended the joining ceremony of FA (free agent) Noh Jin-hyuk (34), Yoo Kang-nam (31), and Han Hyun-hee (30) at Lotte Hotel Busan Sapphire Room on the 19th and said, “I have an ambition to play winning baseball this year.”
Asked about the direction of FA recruitment, Sung replied, “We will do our best to satisfy fans every game because our power has risen rather than the goal of ‘three players will come and play autumn baseball or win’.”
“For the past three years, we have given young players opportunities,” said Sung, adding, “From this season, we have supplemented many veteran players and recruited three FA.” He said, “I will do my best to win every game rather than aiming to rank a few.”
From the 2020 season when general manager Sung Min-kyu took office, Lotte’s players in their early and mid-20s received opportunities in the first division. Among the fielders, key players Han Dong-hee (24) and Ko Seung-min (23), backup agents Kim Min-soo (25) and Lee Ho-yeon (28) mainly participated. Last season, Cho Se-jin (20) and Han Tae-yang (20) played more than 70 at-bats.
On the mound, Choi Joon-yong (22) and Kim Do-kyu (25) settled in the bullpen in a short time, and Na Gyun-an (25), who turned from catcher to pitcher, also played between the starting pitcher and the bullpen last year. Through rebuilding, young players are gradually gaining ground in the first division.
However, ahead of this season, the tone has changed. After the end of last season, he recruited a large number of players released from other teams, including Shin Jung-rak (36), Kim Sang-soo (36), and Cha Woo-chan (36). On top of that, he strengthened his depth by sweeping three semi-class FA players. The increase in available resources is expected to be a strong background for the 144-game long-term race.
Of course, the sexual flow over the past three years cannot be seen as hopeful. Lotte, which lacked just one win (71 wins, 72 losses, 1 draw, 7th place) in the 50% winning rate in 2020, remained in eighth place with a winning margin of -12 (64 wins, 76 losses, 4 draws) last year following 65 wins, 71 losses, and 8 draws (8th place) in 2021.
However, in this stove league, except for the retirement of Lee Dae-ho (41), there were no significant unfavorable factors, and only reinforcement of the power was made. It’s a hopeful signal.
In the past, General Manager Sung Min-kyu said in an interview with Star News, “The year 2024 marks the fifth year since I took office as General Manager.” That’s the real game. It usually takes five years for a team to win,” he said. Sung’s process, which has been making a long-term plan, is now preparing to reveal its light.