After signing the biggest free agent infielder in baseball, Ahn Chi-hong (33), Hanwha has created a 25-man protected list. It will be interesting to see who Lotte will choose as compensation for Ahn.
Hanwha signed Ahn Chi-hong, who was released as a free agent from Lotte on April 19, for a maximum of 7.2 billion won over 4+2 years. The base contract is worth 5.5 billion won, including 4.7 billion won in guarantees and 800 million won in options, with a mutual option triggered for the next two years. If the contract is extended, a total of 1.7 billion won will be added, including a two-year guarantee of 1.3 billion won and an option of 400 million won.토토사이트
Hanwha realized Lotte’s salary cap situation and made early plans to sign either Ahn Chi-hong or Jeon Jun-woo. They made an offer to Jeon Jun-woo, but quickly secured a deal with Lotte that would have given them up to 4.7 billion won ($4.7 million) over four years.
Hanwha head coach Son Hyuk said, “To get him to come to our team, we had to win at once. It was the same with Chae Eun-sung last year, but we moved quickly. Ahn Chi-hong also understood the situation, and the 4+2 year contract made it easier for us. It’s good for us that she’s doing well,” he said.
With every gain comes a loss. As a Class B free agent, Ahn must pay his former team 100 percent of the previous year’s salary, plus 25 protected players and one compensatory player or 200 percent of the previous year’s salary. Ahn’s salary this year is 500 million won, and Lotte could receive up to 1 billion won if they opt for compensation alone.
However, it is likely that Lotte will opt for a compensatory player in addition to the 500 million won compensation. Ahn’s free agent contract was announced on April 22. Hanwha compiled its 25-man protected list relatively early and handed it over to Lotte at 6 p.m. on the 24th. This was one day ahead of the 25-day deadline. As a result, Lotte has 27 days to decide on a compensation player.
Hanwha’s overall team depth has improved considerably in recent years as they have acquired a number of promising players in the bullpen. The team will need to perform next year, but the prospects they have acquired during their painful rebuilding process cannot be easily taken away. It is likely that they have locked up a lot of younger players who haven’t shown much yet.
Lotte also has a new coach, Kim Tae-hyung, who is a “championship hired gun,” so the team needs to do well next season. The team’s immediate focus will be on bolstering its lineup. They have the resources to fill the void left by Ahn Chi-hong, having selected infielders Oh Sun-jin and Choi Hang in the second round of the draft on May 22, so they are likely to turn their attention to pitching.
The bullpen is where Hanwha has the most depth. The young bullpen is also developing, so there are plenty of alternatives, and there will be quite a few players released from the 25-man roster on the pitching side. Among them, Lotte is expected to choose a resource that can be put to good use immediately.
Hanwha also had a bullpen pitcher slip through the cracks last year after signing a free agent. LG designated right-hander Yoon Hosol for assignment after acquiring Class A pitcher Chae Eun-sung from the 20-man roster. This year, we’re curious to see if a pitcher will be selected as a compensation player or if a player from another position will be selected.