The Salary Cap as a Coolant to Free Agency Overheating .
The 2023 free agency market is moving slowly.
This is because the salary cap overlaps with the secondary draft, complicating the math for each team.
This year’s market opened on the 19th.
In the absence of any big-name free agents, only Jeon Jun-woo (Lotte – 4 years, 4.7 billion won), Ahn Chi-hong (Lotte → Hanwha – 4+2 years, 7.2 billion won), Kim Jae-yoon (KT → Samsung – 4 years, 5.8 billion won), Ko Jong-wook (KIA – 2 years, 5 billion won), and Yang Seok-hwan (Doosan – 4+2 years, 7.8 billion won) completed contracts in the first 10 days.
Excluding Oh Seung-hwan (multi-year contract with LG) and Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung), who applied for free agency to avoid the second draft, there are still 12 players on the market: Lim Chan-kyu, Ham Deok-joo, Kim Min-sung (LG), Joo Kwon (KT), Kim Min-sik (SSG), Hong Gun-hee (Doosan), Kim Sun-bin (KIA), Kim Dae-woo and Kang Kang-ul (Samsung), Jang Min-jae (Hanwha), Lim Chang-min, and Lee Ji-young (Kiwoom). Ham Deok-ju also received a background check from Major League Baseball (MLB) on the 30th.
Unlike other years, clubs are cautious about signing free agents because of the salary cap.
Lotte was only able to retain franchise players Jeon Jun-woo and Ahn Chi-hong, who were both internal free agents, due to severe salary cap pressure.
The same is true for Ahn Chi-hong, who was sent to Hanwha and was unable to turn to external free agents.
Lotte signed Yoo Kang-nam, Noh Jin-hyuk, and Han Hyun-hee as free agents last year, so their salary cap is almost full.
Hanwha also stayed out of the free agent market after signing Ahn Chi-hong to bolster its batting lineup.
This is because they need to keep some space in their salary cap to negotiate with Ryu Hyun-jin, who is eligible for free agency in the Major Leagues.
They also need to be prepared for Noh Si-hwan to become a free agent in the future.
If they don’t, they could be faced with a difficult choice.
The salary cap is also the reason why SSG was unable to protect Choi Joo-hwan, who is now wearing a Kiwoom uniform, and starting pitchers with multi-year contracts in the second draft.
Without the salary cap, they wouldn’t have been drafted in the second round.
With Choi Jeong-jeong set to become a free agent next year and Kim Kwang-hyun the year after, the ESL is even more concerned about salary cap management. 토토
The fear of losing team-centered players to the salary cap has led to calls for its abolition both inside and outside of baseball.
The KBO confirmed the introduction of the salary cap in early 2020 and implemented it this year after a three-year grace period.
Previously, teams could “shop” for free agents as long as the parent group had the money, but in the era of the salary cap, even if they have the money, they have to consider the future.
Even if you have the funds, you still need to consider the future.
The reason why Yang Seok-hwan’s contract total, which was rumored to be at least 8 billion won before the opening of the free agency market this year, did not reach 8 billion won is because other teams were hesitant to sign him due to the salary cap.
Last year, there were three players with a total of more than 8 billion won.
The free agent market, which was overheated until last year, has cooled down thanks to the salary cap.
It is premature to call for its abolition after only one year of implementation as it has a clear net function.
However, it seems that it is necessary to consider raising the baseline (11.4268 billion won in 2023-2025) in consideration of inflation.