The Kia Tigers and veteran infielder Kim Sun-bin’s free agency talks are dragging on. The two sides want to keep each other, but are unable to find an agreement. The two sides are far apart on terms. In the midst of the tense tug-of-war, there was a change of scenery. Park Chan-ho was injured and the main third baseman Kim Do-young was out for four months.굿모닝토토
Kim has a career-high 3-for-7 batting average. He is one of the big four hitters in the 2024 free agent market, along with Yang Seok-hwan, Jeon Jun-woo, and Ahn Chi-hong. He’s also been consistent over the past four years. In the four years leading up to this year, he played in 487 games, batting .308 with 213 RBIs and a .757 OPS. He averaged 122 games and 494 plate appearances. He wasn’t a full-time player, but he did his part.
Whether he’s batting second, third, sixth, or seventh, he’s more than capable of doing his job at the plate. As you’d expect from a 2017 batting champion, he makes contact at a league-leading level and torments pitchers. In addition to his excellent pushing ability, he also pulls well. He doesn”t strike out easily and uses up a lot of pitches. This is the kind of hitter a manager needs. The absence of a third baseman would leave the lineup vulnerable.
His defense and fielding are not what they used to be due to frequent ankle and thigh injuries. Playing 144 games full-time can be difficult, so it’s important to take care of yourself during the off-season. During the season, you need to have proper injury management. If he solves his lower body problems, his defense at second base will be more solid and his ability to run the bases will improve. This is something that Kim has to prove.
Moreover, Kim Do-young, the main third baseman, is injured. She tore ligaments and fractured her left thumb while making a head-first slide in the APBC tournament and was diagnosed with a four-month rehabilitation. His rehabilitation could be accelerated, but he is expected to return in mid-April next year. He will be out for a month after Opening Day. We’ll have to wait and see what the after-effects are.
Park suffered a season-ending ulnar comminuted fracture in a sand dune and was placed on the operating table. He also suffered a left wrist injury in spring training this year. There are also concerns about the aftereffects of his injuries. Add to that the loss of Kim Sun-bin, and the infield could be very shaky. Kim Jong-kook, the manager of the Okinawa final camp, said, “Chan-ho also had surgery. We have to be careful because his wrist also has aftereffects. I’m worried about the infield next year,” he sighed.
Kim Sun-bin is currently negotiating with KIA to stay. They have met several times, but have yet to reach an agreement. The club entered the negotiations with a policy of not overpaying. Kim Sun-bin’s side is likely to start with the first free agent contract. If there are large differences, it is difficult to find a point of contact and the negotiations can be prolonged.
“We decided not to disclose the details of our negotiations,” said Shim Jae-hak. We have not yet presented the club’s final proposal,” he said, adding, “We are thinking of it as a necessary force for next season. We will try our best to stay.” In the end, the key will be whether the two sides can modify the existing conditions without sticking to them.