The contract was late and the season started late, but I gritted my teeth even more. Kwon Hee-dong (33, NC Dinos) and Jung Chan-heon (33, Kiwoom Heroes), who remained in the original team beyond the ‘FA lost’ crisis, are burning.
Kwon Hee-dong and Jeong Chan-heon were not noticed in the free agent market last offseason. There was a reason why there were so many big fish, but both of them were not very good.
Kwon Hee-dong had 7 free agents in NC alone, and last season’s performance was close to ‘career low’. He only played in 82 games due to disciplinary actions, but with a batting average of 0.227 and 5 homers and 22 RBIs, he did not help the team much.
Jeong Chan-heon was similar. Although he was classified as a quasi-level starting resource, he only had an average ERA of 5.36 with 5 wins and 6 losses in 20 games last season.
It seemed difficult to appeal to other teams as even the original team turned a blind eye to the poor performance of the previous season. Finding another way, such as a sign-and-trade, seemed quick, but even that was not easy.
In the end, the contract was signed just before the opening of the year.
Kwon Hee-dong signed a contract with NC in February for up to 125 million won (annual salary of 90 million won and an option of 35 million won) for one year. It was a ‘cheap contract’ with a guaranteed amount of less than 100 million won.
Jeong Chan-heon signed a contract with Kiwoom in March, just five days before the start of the season. Fortunately, as Kiwoom increased the size of the contract, they joined hands again under not bad conditions of a total of up to 860 million won (down payment of 200 million, annual salary of 200 million, and option of 260 million won) for two years.
After twists and turns, the two faced a new season, and the start was inevitable. Although he said he had been doing individual exercises, his pace was inevitably slower than others who had built up their bodies through spring camps.
It wasn’t until May, a month after the opening, that both of them appeared in the first team for the first time, and so far they are showing more than expected.
Kwon Hee-dong was registered for the 1st team on the 4th, but the actual match was put in from the KT Wiz match on the 9th as rain canceled one after another.
And Kwon Hee-dong, who played as a starter in 5 out of 6 games last week, is playing an active role with 11 hits in 21 at-bats (0.524), 4 RBIs, 5 walks and 1 walk. Even considering that the sample is still small, it is a successful return of a player who has been in the second team all along.
As Kwon Hee-dong was placed in the 5th batting order, NC was able to build a more weighty batting order. This is because the burden of Kwon Hee-dong’s backing was lessened while the team’s strongest hitters, such as Son Ah-seop, Park Min-woo, Park Gun-woo, and Jason Martin, were placed in the 1st to 4th positions.
NC coach Kang In-kwon was also satisfied, saying, “Kwon Hee-dong came up to the first team and showed a good performance, and it felt like the team’s offensive power was getting stronger.”
Jeong Chan-heon, who was also registered in the first team from May, is also making a successful start.
He gave up 1 run in 6 innings against SSG Landers on the 5th, 2 hits, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts, and 1 run in 6 innings against the LG Twins on the 11th. In both games, they were defeated because they were not supported by the other line, but there was nothing to criticize for Jeong Chan-heon’s pitching.
His restraint is not fast, from the late 130 km to the early 140 km per hour, but he is competitive based on his sophisticated control and good movement.
Kiwoom initially dropped Jae-young “Young Gun” Jang as the 5th starter, but after the opening, he was greatly sluggish with an average ERA of 12.79 in 2 games and then went down to the 2nd team. It was confirmed again with the case of Jeong Chan-heon and Jang Jae-young that they have a fastball that exceeds 150 km per hour,안전놀이터 but it is useless if it does not control the ball.
If Jeong Chan-heon continues this kind of appearance, there is no need to worry about the 5th selection in Kiwoom. This is because he is in a situation where he can build a league-top starting rotation with Ahn Woo-jin, Eric Yokishi, Ariel Hurado, and Choi Won-tae.
Director Hong Won-ki Kiwoom was also satisfied, saying, “If you continue to show this, it will be of great help to the starting lineup.”
Kwon Hee-dong and Jung Chan-heon prepared for the season more desperately than the late contract. They are preparing to be reborn as ‘FA filial son’ from ‘FA lost child’.