Trade → Joining the 1st Army Camp, “I will raise him as Oh Ji-hwan’s successor”… Yeom Ga-ryang predicted “Kim Min-soo.”

“I’ll raise Oh Jihwan as the next shortstop”

The LG Twins officially announced on the 26th that they have recruited Kim Min-soo of the Lotte Giants through a signing and trade.

LG signed a contract with FA Kim Min-sung (35) for up to three years (2+1 year) and a total of 900 million won (down payment of 200 million won, annual salary of 500 million won, option of 200 million won). The team then acquired infielder Kim Min-soo (25) from Lotte and made a one-on-one trade to send Kim Min-sung.

LG dispatched a veteran infield utility and acquired a young infielder with a military service. LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop left for the Scottsdale Spring Campground in Arizona, the U.S. on Wednesday evening. He will leave the country before the team and spend two to three days alone to start planning for the season. In an interview with reporters at the departure hall, Yeom said, “We will make Kim Min-soo, whose trade was announced on the day, compete for the successor of shortstop Oh Ji-hwan (33).

When Kim Min-soo asked if he would join the first-team camp, Yeom replied, “I’m taking him with me.” He said he has included him in the first-team squad that will depart for the U.S. on the 30th.

Kim Min-soo joined Lotte in the second round in 2017. He completed his military service with the police baseball team early in 2018-2019. He played in 188 games in the first division and recorded a batting average of .24106 hits (three homers) with 38 walks and an OPS of .630 (on-base percentage of .313 and slugging percentage of .317).

In the second division, he played in 304 games and recorded a batting average of 293 with 252 hits (37 home runs), 163 RBIs, 126 walks, and OPS .876 (on-base percentage of .388 and slugging percentage of .488).

The LG club judged Kim Min-soo as a former youth representative and completed his military service at the National Police Agency, and as an infielder with great strength in batting, he was a promising player with excellent handling and compliance throwing ability.

Coach Yeom said, “When Kim Min-soo comes, I think first and third bases will be possible at any time, and I plan to train shortstop and second baseman a lot. If you become a shortstop and second baseman, it’s difficult, but first and third bases are available at any time, so I’m going to make him do something difficult first.”

He added, “The hitting side is also thinking that Min-su will get a chance as he used (Kim) Min-sung by talking to the hitting coach and filling in some parts that need to be filled with more basic skills.”

Kim Min-soo is a third baseman in his main position, but he played all four infield positions for Lotte in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, he played first baseman (96 ⅓ innings), second baseman (205 ⅓ innings), third baseman (145 ⅓ innings), and shortstop (23 innings), and in 2022, he played first baseman (92 innings), second baseman (109 innings), third baseman (113 ⅓ innings), and shortstop (23 innings).

Last year, the number of games he played in drastically decreased to 25 games, and he mainly played as a first baseman (48 innings) and a third baseman (69 innings). The number of innings was 0 for shortstop and two for second baseman.

He will be appointed as an infield backup this year, but he also mentioned the far future as a candidate for shortstop after Oh Ji-hwan. During the sign-and-trade process, Yeom reportedly gave Kim a good evaluation and welcomed him as a trade card.

“If you grow up well, you will be able to see Minsung when he was good and Minsung when he was young, so if you grow that much, it will be of tremendous value to the team. He is not a home run hitter, but he also has some power,” Yeom said.

He mentioned Ji-hwan as the next candidate for shortstop. “There is (Lee) Young-bin behind me, but we need to prepare with someone else as well. There is a big difference in depth from when Young-bin is preparing alone. If we fail with just one Young-bin, we will not have the next card. We need to raise Ji-hwan next to Young-bin.” Lee Young-bin, who is currently playing for the Sangmu, will be discharged from the military in July.

Kim played in 25 games last year, recording a batting average of 209 (nine hits in 43 times at bat) with an OPS of .599. He did not have many chances to play.

LG’s first baseman is Austin, a foreign hitter, while the second baseman is Shin Min-jae (28), who took the lead last year, and the third baseman is Moon Bo-kyung (23), who completed his mandatory military service with a gold medal at the Asian Games. Oh Ji-hwan is the best in the infield. Some of the backup infielders include Koo Bon-hyuk (27), Kim Joo-sung (26), and Son Ho-young (29). To seize the opportunity, the team must compete.

Kim Min-sung returned to his hometown team Lotte for the first time in 14 years through a sign-and-trade. Kim Min-sung joined Lotte with the 13th pick in the second round of the 2007 draft. He was traded to Nexen Heroes (now Kiwoom) in 2010, and signed an FA contract with Kiwoom in 2019 to move to LG for a ‘sign-and-trade’. At that time, Kim Min-sung signed a three-year FA contract for a total of 1.8 billion won, and Kiwoom traded it for 500 million won in cash from LG.

Kim Min-sung played as a backup last year, but played as well as his key player. He played in 112 games and recorded a batting average of 249, eight homers, 41 RBIs, 34 runs and an OPS of .703. He also contributed significantly in defense. Kim played 105 ⅔ innings as first baseman, 280 innings as second baseman, 135 innings as third baseman, and 145 innings as shortstop. He played all-weather in four infield positions. He filled in the gaps where Oh Ji-hwan was injured and Moon Bo-kyung played for the Asian Games national team 꽁머니.

“It will definitely be good for Minsung. Lotte will have a lot more opportunities than us to play in the game,” Yeom said. “We would use it if Minsung was there, but I think it’s good for Minsung because there are situations where we have to use it as well as Bonhyuk and give young players a chance.”

“I got a call from Minsung. He said, ‘I’m sorry, director. I think I need to go somewhere else.’ You told me that what’s good is the most important thing. I got a call yesterday, thank you,” he said, referring to his farewell to his student.

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