LG couldn’t have asked for more.
In a phone call on the 29th, Kiwoom head coach Ko Hyung-wook said, “The last two or three days have been fast-paced. (Lee) Jung-hoo is out with an injury and (Choi) Won-tae is out, but we can make up for it in the starting lineup. However, I thought that the Beast would have to be fattened up quickly to have a chance of winning.”
Ko continued, “Ronnie Dawson came in and is doing well. Lee Joo-hyung is the key to our offense. Kim Dong-kyu needs a little time, but Kim Joo-hyung is a fast hitter with good contact. Of course, we also thought about the future.”
Kiwoom dropped to ninth place due to injuries to their main lineup and persistent batting problems. It’s true that the team lost Choi Won-tae (LG) this time around, making it a bit more difficult, but they still have five starters (Ahn Woo-jin, Ariel Hurtado, Ian McKinney, Jung Chan-heon, and Jang Jae-young). They also added an immediate power prospect (infielder/outfielder Lee Ju-hyung), a pitcher worth scratching (Kim Dong-gyu), and a 2024 first-round draft pick. Lee Ju-hyung immediately went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored for Gocheok Samsung Electronics on the 29th.
The deal wouldn’t have happened without Lee Jeong-hoo. However, with the addition of Lee to the injury parade of epic proportions, Kiwoom has lost some ground in the battle for the top spot. However, the team’s head coach, Ko Hyung-wook, emphasized that they are not giving up on the season.
“We have a lot of injuries, and some players are underperforming. It’s true that we did a lot of preparation for the season, but we’re only a few games (3.5) away from fifth place. We will do our best until the end of the season. We haven’t given up on the season.” 꽁머니지급
You could describe Kiwoom as a major league-style seller. However, Kiwoom cannot boldly declare “giving up on the season” given Korean sentiment. And in fact, according to Ko Hyung-wook, Kiwoom is not at the point of abandoning the season at all. The team is not strong, but it’s also not a team that needs to rebuild, and if it does, it needs to fire-sale the remaining main players.
So it’s a bit of a disappointment for Kiwoom. This trade doesn’t need much background. This trade was made because LG was in desperate need of starting pitching. LG was all-in on winning the Korean Series a few years ago. While Lee Joo-hyung is a top prospect and the upcoming rookie draft is a gold mine for Kiwoom, it’s not like they’ll lose anything if the deal falls through at worst.
Moreover, Kiwoom is known for making good trades. Lee Joo-hyung is good, but the LG batting lineup is the strongest in the league. Manager Ko Hyung-wook said, “We asked for it at the beginning,” but it seems that it fell through during the coordination process.
In any case, Kiwoom needs to make the most of the resources it has received. Without Choi Won-tae, it doesn’t mean they can’t fight for the top five. And apart from that, they need to develop Lee Joo-hyung well. He’s a player with a lot of potential. And we need to do a really good job with the upcoming rookie draft. This is Kiwoom’s specialty, so Kiwoom fans have high expectations.