It’s a new wave, but it’s the same old, same old. I feel sorry for them. When I look at the Kiwoom Heroes, who are at the bottom of the league, I can’t help but feel that way. It’s as if the manager of Kiwoom is being punished with the fate of the Seagulls.
On July 29, right in the middle of the season, Kiwoom traded their top 10 pitcher (Choi Won-tae) to the ‘well-regarded LG Twins’ and chose an ‘uncertain future’. On the face of it, it was a ‘trade’ that didn’t seem strange at all. The Twins acquired unproven but promising resources (22-year-old infielder Lee Ju-hyung + 19-year-old rookie pitcher Kim Dong-gyu), and topped it off with a first-round draft pick in 2024.
In a press release announcing the trade, Kiwoom President Ko Hyung-wook said, “Our organization prepared to strengthen our power to conquer the top after the 2022 season, but we fell short of our expectations. We decided to make this trade after finding a little more calm in the middle of the season and seriously thinking about strengthening the weak parts of our current power and strengthening our future power.”
In short, the team is done for the year. The injury to key hitter Lee Jung-hoo may have had an impact, but giving up on the season so early is bound to have a negative impact on the league’s fortunes.
A representative from another club pointed to the “deepening power imbalance between teams” as a reason for Kiwoom’s trade. With Kiwoom in last place, 23 games behind first-place LG, this would naturally reduce the density and excitement of the season.
On August 13 against Jamsil LG, the struggling Kiwoom sent Kim Dong-kyu, who had just been acquired by the club, to the mound as a trial run to gain experience, but he was pummeled for five runs in two innings. Kiwoom lost the game 8-17 after giving up a whopping five stolen bases, including a home run, in a disastrous outing that also saw star catcher Lee Ji-young miss the game due to a bout with gallbladder symptoms. Wins and losses aside, this game raises the bleak prospect that Kiwoom will have to go through another difficult rebuilding process. There’s a long, hard road ahead of them to get back to last year’s tacky team colors. If we let the team go like this, we’re going to have no choice but to let Grandpa Jagalang come back.
A trade doesn’t make a lot of sense right now. However, it is not easy to understand this kind of trade, which suddenly takes away the power of the field and makes it a mess. We don’t want to criticize Kiwoom’s management, but it’s clear that this was a very unconventional trade that doesn’t seem like common sense.
Team president Ko Hyung-wook’s comment at the end of the trade press release, “I would like to thank Choi Won-tae for doing his best for the team over the past eight years, and I hope he will continue to play well in his new team,” is too pathetic to be dismissed as a nice gesture.메이저놀이터
Since its founding in 2008, the Kiwoom Heroes has been through a lot of ups and downs as a “self-sustaining club,” with management disputes, backroom deals, and more. In a whirlwind quarter-century of struggle, Kiwoom has reached the Korean Series three times (2014, 2019, 2022), but ultimately fell short of the championship. Late-comers NC Dinos (2020) and KT Wiz (2021) have also made it to the podium, but Kiwoom is the only one of the 10 existing clubs to have never won a title.
If Kiwoom is satisfied with being a “player supply chain” that can only do good things for other players by making them work harder – which is unlikely – there is no future for the organization.