KIA Tigers “pinch-hitting specialist” outfielder Ko Jong-wook will apply for free agency after delaying it for a year. With the possibility of Kim Sun-bin becoming an internal free agent crackdown, the Kia Tigers have expressed their desire to keep Ko Jong-wook for the 2024 season.
The 2024 free agency market opens one week after the conclusion of the 2023 KBO Korean Series. There is a chance that the series could end in Game 5, so the free agency market could open as early as the fourth week of November.
KIA is also considering reorganizing its roster for the 2024 season. The first priority is to retain internal free agent Kim “Captain” Sun-bin. Kim signed his first free agent contract (totaling 4 billion won over four years) after the 2019 season ended.
In 2023, Kim appeared in 119 games, batting .320 with 134 hits, 48 RBIs, and a .381 on-base percentage. As the team captain, Kim held down the starting second base position and helped the team compete for a top-five finish by the end of the season. Retaining Kim is the most important Stovrig task for KIA, as there are no viable second base alternatives in sight.
In addition to Kim, attention is also being paid to Ko Jong-wook, who will be eligible for free agency. Ko Jong-wook opted out of his first free agency last year and signed a one-year extension with KIA. Go hit .296 with 80 hits, 3 home runs, and 39 RBIs in 114 games in the 2023 season. 무지개토토 주소
Primarily serving as a pinch-hitter, Ko specialized in his clutch abilities, batting .346 (28-for-81) with 37 RBIs in scoring position and .455 (5-for-2) with 11 RBIs with runners in scoring position. From KIA’s perspective, there’s no reason not to keep him around for the 2024 season, as he’s optimized for a fourth outfielder role in addition to a pinch-hitting role in late-game contests.
There has been some speculation that Go Jong-wook will seek free agency this winter. According to MK Sports, Ko Jong-wook recently spoke with the club and expressed his desire to file for free agency. While the player clearly wants to stay with the team, the club has also communicated its intention to continue working with him.
A KIA representative said, “Recently, Ko Jong-wook and the club met and talked about applying for free agency. There is a possibility that he will apply for free agency this winter after postponing it a year ago. Along with Kim Sun-bin, the club also conveyed their desire to work with Ko Jong-wook next year.”
Ko Jong-wook’s free agency application is also reportedly linked to the KBO’s secondary draft, which will be held off-season. If Go Jong-wook stays with the team after filing for free agency, he will be classified as a free agent and placed on the secondary draft protection list. From KIA’s perspective, it’s an option to protect one more player. Go Jong-wook would also have the option to re-sign with a better contract.
It will be interesting to see if KIA can complete the internal free agent retention scenario with Kim Sun-bin and Ko Jong-wook.