“To help young players grow well,” inexperienced SSG catcher joins veteran, expects mentor effect

A catcher came to give the young catcher SSG Landers experience.

SSG and Kiwoom Heroes announced the trade news on Wednesday. It is “sign and trade.” Kiwoom signed a two-year contract worth 400 million won (350 million won per year, 50 million won option) with Lee Ji-young, who is eligible as a free agent, and traded with SSG on the condition that he would receive 250 million won (270,000 dollars) and the third round of the 2025 rookie draft.

Ahead of this season, SSG’s catcher team has made a big difference. Experienced catcher Lee Jae-won requested his team to release him and later signed a contract with Hanwha Eagles. SSG recruited catcher Park Dae-on and Shin Bum-soo through the second draft. Then, Lee Heung-ryeon announced his retirement on Wednesday. Kim Min-sik, who entered the FA market, has yet to find his team.

Cho Hyung-woo, Park Dae-on, and Shin Bum-soo have little experience. A veteran player who will instill experience into such players will be joining the SSG. “We pushed for this trade to strengthen the catcher lineup and stabilize the pitching staff,” SSG said. “We expect Lee Ji-young, who has 16 years of exemplary playing and excellent skills, to lead the team’s pitching staff and serve as a good mentor to the young catcher.”

Lee spent his youth in Incheon. He went to Kyungsung University after studying at Seohwa Elementary School, Shinheung Middle School and Jemulpo High School. Lee later joined the Samsung Lions in 2008 and made his first major league debut in 2009. He had the honor of winning the Korean Series three times with Samsung and wore the Kiwoom uniform in a trade in 2019.

Since then, he has played 106 games in the 2019 season, 101 games in the 2020 season, 108 games in the 2021 season, and 137 games in the 2022 season, and led Kiwoom to a sensation by starting all games from the postseason semi-playoff to the Korean Series. In the 2023 season, he played 81 games and recorded a batting average of 0.249 OPS of 0.586.

After the announcement, an SSG official contacted by My Daily said, “Lee Ji-young is durable and consistently displayed performance. Checked through various channels, she is a sincere and well-performing player. Currently, our (SSG) catcher is young, and we recruited her with high expectation that she would play a leading role. She also checked her physical condition. She is doing well in training without any injury.”

Lee wanted to play in her hometown team during the twilight of her career. “I approached Lee first from her agent. I felt Lee’s desperation,” an SSG source said. “She is a player from Incheon. She wanted to play in her hometown team and had a good image of her. I wanted to burn the last minute.” 랭크카지노

Lee’s experience will be of great help to the younger catchers. “We also recruited Coach Fumihiro Suzuki and brought in Lee to nurture the younger catchers. The catchers are considered to be our weaknesses, and we have made efforts to make them our strength,” an SSG source said. “Kim Jae-hyun, the team’s general manager, also asked Lee to help young players grow as a leader of the catchers. He also asked Lee to serve as a mentor for them.”

Meanwhile, Lee Ji-young said, “First of all, I thank SSG for recognizing my value, and it is meaningful to play in my hometown, Incheon. As much as you trusted me and recruited me, I will do my best to help SSG achieve good results this season,” adding, “I will contribute a lot to the team’s victory this season and try to become a player loved by fans. Lastly, I thank Kiwoom fans for their love.”

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