“I’m curious too. I’m curious, but it’s not easy.”
Lee is a gentle man, but when the topic of shortstop comes up, he becomes firm and strict. He’s not about to give anyone a starting shortstop. The Doosan Bears’ search for a post-Jae-ho Kim is ongoing.
Kim Jae-ho, who was called a “genius shortstop” when he joined the team and has been the Bears’ starting shortstop for nearly 15 years, was born in 1985. He is 38 years old this year. He is now at the age of looking at the future. He has a lot of lingering injuries from his past, and the shortstop position is very demanding defensively, so we can’t expect him to play full-time anymore.
The team obviously needs a new shortstop. There are plenty of candidates. However, the shortstop is the commander of the entire infield defense, so he must have solid defense and be somewhat competitive at the plate in order to survive the harsh competition. This is why we are looking for a ‘post-Jae-ho Kim’.
Since the time of Kim Tae-hyung, we’ve been looking for a shortstop after Kim Jae-ho. There were and are several candidates. However, no one has been able to establish a solid starting position. Even after Lee took over, the shortstop position was declared an “open competition,” giving several players a chance through spring training, exhibition games, and the opening day.
Ahn Jae-seok, Lee Yoo-chan, Park Kye-beom, and others were the favorites to be the starting shortstop. Ahn Jae-seok, one of the favorites, has been sidelined with a poor batting performance and a recent back injury, while Park Kye-beom’s pace seems to have slowed down after a good run. Lee Yoo-chan has been playing as a “multi-man” by alternating between shortstop and second base. 안전놀이터
“Park Kye-beom came up to the first team and showed good form, but he seems to have lost his touch again these days,” said Lee Seung-yeop. “For our team’s situation, we are not deciding on a starting shortstop. In fact, I’m curious. I’m curious, but it’s not easy,” he said with a bitter smile.
He also gave a clue to the starting shortstop. “Of course, defense is important for a shortstop. It is also a position that can control the infielders.”
Ironically, they are looking for a ‘post-Jae-ho Kim,’ and recently, Kim has been the best among the contenders. Kim has been flying lately, with a walk-off hit, a double steal, and a triple. Coach Lee Seung-yeop is also impressed with Kim’s performance, saying, “He is a veteran who can help the pitcher when he is shaky. It’s natural for a player who does well in competition to go out. Before going to the second team, there was a feeling that his movements were a little dull, but he seems to have gained speed after returning. His movements are dynamic.”
Kim Jae-ho’s retention is good news, but the growth and awakening of juniors who can keep him in check is essential. Opportunities don’t come easy.