The Lotte Giants were eager to recruit fielders ahead of the 2023 season. The catcher and shortstop positions, which were pointed out as chronic weaknesses, were strengthened by recruiting free agents Yoo Kang-nam and Noh Jin-hyuk. Since a total of 13 billion won in free agency was spent on these two alone, expectations for an improvement in performance this season were bound to be high.
In fact, it had an effect at the beginning of the season. Unlike Yoo Kang-nam, who only did his part in catcher defense and had poor batting, Noh Jin-hyuk seemed to prove his worth as a free-agent shortstop by recording several game-winning hits, including walk-off hits, in important game-winning positions.스포츠토토
However, the Noh Jin-hyuk effect faded away not long after. Noh Jin-hyuk, who was expunged from the first team lineup after suffering a side injury in early June, failed to show any significant presence even after his return. The reality is that as the sharpness in hitting, which is an advantage, has disappeared, only the shortcomings of narrow defense are being highlighted.
The frustrating part is that the outlook for next season does not look very bright. This is also true compared to Yoo Kang-nam, who was evaluated as having little performance compared to his price from the beginning of the season. Yoo Kang-nam, who gradually began to blend into the team in the second half of the season, is showing good performance in offense and defense towards the end of the season.
The role that Lotte wanted Yoo Kang-nam to play at the time of his recruitment was to participate in as many games as possible and wear the catcher’s mask for a long time. However, backup catchers Son Seong-bin and Jeong Jeong-geun showed signs of growth, and Yoo Kang-nam’s physical strength was naturally managed. Yoo Kang-nam, who has maintained his stamina, has been hitting close to .400 since September.
However, in the case of Noh Jin-hyuk, the situation is different. Lotte, which has no alternative at shortstop, is using foreign fielder Gudrum if Noh Jin-hyuk does not play. Since Goodrum, who is below expectations in offense and defense, is unlikely to remain in Lotte, a backup shortstop is needed to support Noh Jin-hyuk next season. Moreover, there is also the issue of age. Unlike Yoo Kang-nam, who was born in 1992 and is in his prime, Jin-hyuk Noh, born in 1989, does not have much time left to become the starting shortstop.
A powerful measure that Lotte can take in the future is to refer to NC Dinos’ use of Noh Jin-hyuk. Noh Jin-hyuk, who was with NC last year, played both shortstop and third base. When it comes to the number of innings he played on defense, he actually played more games as a third baseman.
Considering Noh Jin-hyuk’s age, which is in his mid-30s, it is necessary to increase the frequency of third baseman appearances to manage his condition. In order to properly utilize Noh Jin-hyuk, who has had a serious hitting slump this season, allocating physical strength is an urgent need.
The contract period for external free agent players is usually four years or more. In the long run, it can be said that it performed poorly for one year out of four years. Lotte must find the best way to utilize Noh Jin-hyuk to improve its performance over the next three years.