March 2021. The Doosan Bears and LG Twins made a trade.
When Oh Jae-il (Samsung) became eligible for free agency, Doosan’s first base position became vacant, prompting LG general manager Cha Myung-seok to offer first base resource Yang Seok-hwan for a trade.
Left-handed pitcher Ham Deok-ju became the target. LG added left-hander Nam Ho and Doosan added right-handed fastball prospect Chae Ji-seon to the mix, and a two-for-two trade was finalized.
Doosan smiled broadly. Yang, who had been labeled a “big bat prospect,” led the team in home runs with 28 in his first year. He continued to hit 20 or more home runs for the next two years, completely erasing Doosan’s first base woes.
His leadership skills also stood out, as he brought the team together with his on-field antics.
It took LG a while to start smiling with Ham Deok-ju. Ham was a stalwart for Doosan, recording 27 saves in 2018, 16 saves in 2019 and 10 saves in 2020. But after the trade, various injuries limited him to just 29 games in two years.
The trade seemed to be a “done deal” for Doosan, but Ham Deok-ju has bounced back perfectly this season. In 57 games, he went 4-4 with 4 saves and a 1.62 ERA in 16 appearances, making him a key part of LG’s bullpen. Despite a series of injuries, 먹튀검증토토사이트 LG finished the regular season in first place, with Ham coming in to close the back door whenever needed.
In the Korean Series, Ham continued to perform well. In four games, he pitched 3⅓ innings and posted a 2.70 ERA. In the end, LG was able to win its first championship in 29 years, since 1994.
Coincidentally, both Yang Seok-hwan and Ham Deok-ju are eligible for free agency after the 2023 season.
Yang was the first to announce his signing.
Yang signed a 4+2 year free agent contract with Doosan on March 30 for a maximum of 7.8 billion won. The first four years of the contract can total up to 6.5 billion won (2 billion won in signing bonus, 3.9 billion won in total salary, and 600 million won in incentives). After the four years, the contract includes a two-year, 1.3 billion won mutual option that can be triggered by agreement between the club and the player.
With the potential to hit 20 home runs a season, several teams were interested. Doosan quickly finalized the deal in two meetings, successfully cracking down on internal free agents.
A Doosan Bears representative said, “Yang Seok-hwan is an essential player for our batting lineup, having hit 20 home runs for three consecutive years while calling Jamsil Stadium home.” “We are looking forward to his role as a leader in the dugout as well as on the field,” he added.
“Joining the Doosan Bears via trade is the beginning of a new chapter in my baseball career. I wanted to stay with the team since I exercised my free agency rights, and I am grateful to owner Park Jung-won for signing me on good terms.” “I think signing a free agent contract is the beginning, not the end. As a responsible center fielder and a good senior, I will take the lead in continuing the Doosan Bears’ unique culture.”
A few hours after the news of Yang’s signing. There was a surprise.
“After receiving a request from the Major League Baseball (MLB) Secretariat for an identity check on LG Twins Ham Deok-joo, the KBO informed us on the 30th that ‘the player is a free agent and can sign a contract with any club, including overseas clubs,'” the KBO said.
There is no guarantee that a major league background check will result in a contract. However, it is clear that major league teams are interested in Ham Deok-ju.
Ham’s free agent status is classified as B. If Ham Deok-ju moves to another team, LG will receive one compensatory player outside of the 25 protected players and this year’s salary of 100 million won, or double this year’s salary without a compensatory player.
For a team in need of bullpen depth, Ham Deok-ju is an attractive prospect. In fact, several teams have made him a priority in the lead-up to the Stove League.
While many variables remain to be seen, Ham Deok-ju has proven his value once again with his win and his Major League Baseball status.
The “Two Families Under One Roof” trade in March 2021 will go down in history as a day that elevated a player’s value to the next level.