The SSG Landers, who said they needed to “make changes and innovations in all aspects of team management and player generation,” are planning to keep their foreign lineup for next season. For now, they plan to keep their foreign batsmen.
SSG said on March 31 that “changes and innovations are necessary, including the overall team operation and player generation change,” and that “changes were inevitable in order to renew the team and transform it into a stronger team that is more loved. Therefore, the club has decided to go beyond the original scope of changes to the composition of players and coaching staff to replace the on-field leadership,” and fired manager Kim Won-hyung.
It was a shocking decision. Last year, he led SSG to the ‘Unified Champions’. This year, they made it to the postseason with a third-place finish in the regular season, although that ended after three games in the semifinals. Nevertheless, SSG made a bold decision.
They’re shaking up their coaching staff. The team hasn’t yet hired a new first-team coach, so it hasn’t formed a first-team coaching staff. For now, only the second-team coach has been appointed. Last year, Lee Dae-soo was the head coach of the Futures team, and this year, Son Si-heon has taken over the reins of the second team, which is currently in the midst of its final camp in Kagoshima, Japan.
As the team is aging, he plans to actively develop younger players and train them to become mainstays as soon as next season.
As for the foreign players, the team will keep catcher Guillermo Heredia. In 122 regular-season games this year, Heredia batted .385 with 12 home runs, 76 RBIs, and a .461 on-base percentage. He’s not a big hitter, but he makes the best contact on the team. He’s a player you need. There’s no reason not to get him. Even if they don’t, they need the proven Heredia on a team that’s struggling offensively.
The two foreign pitchers are both in limbo. Kirk McCarty, 28, was initially the first choice. However, he suffered a season-ending injury to his right adductor muscle and was unable to finish the season. He didn’t finish the season. Fortunately, the team bought itself some time by finishing third in the regular season and earning a direct ticket to the semifinals instead of a wild card, and McCarty took the mound as the third pitcher in Game 3 of the semifinals on March 25 and pitched two scoreless innings.
He showed that he was feeling better. But for the club, it was a question mark. In 24 regular-season games this year, he went 9-5 with a 3.39 ERA. He deserves to be considered for a contract.
He was also conscientious and got along well with his teammates. McCarty’s wife cheered him on with their daughter. His skills and personality have been confirmed and he is ready for the KBO. However, the team needs a strong first starter. There are some people who think that McCarty is too heavy to be the first starter. So we’re thinking about it.
The other foreign pitcher, Roenis Elias, showed his worth as a starter in the second half of the season. Elias went 8-6 with a 3.70 ERA in 22 regular-season games. He pitched eight innings of two-run ball in the first round of the semifinals against NC on April 22.
He has a fastball that tops out at 150 kilometers per hour. He’s also figured out how to handle KBO hitters. The problem is his age.
Elias will be 36 years old next year. He’s the same age as Kim Kwang-hyun, who was born in 1988. In fact, Kim Kwang-hyun has also reached a 먹튀검증 certain age, so we are looking for a ‘post-Kwang-hyun’, but even foreign pitchers are worried about their age.
The club is thinking of keeping Elias and McCarty next year if they don’t have to worry about age and injuries.
Elias was brought in as a replacement and was expected to be a 10+ win pitcher if he prepared properly and finished the season. McCarty would have been the only other 10-win pitcher if not for injuries, so the organization is “going to be cautious and see if there’s a better pitcher out there.”