37-year-old infielder signs multi-year contract, selects and focuses on presenting new solutions

SSG Landers made a surprise announcement on the 20th to sign a non-FA multi-year contract with veteran infielder Kim Sung-hyun. The contract period is 600 million won for a total of three years. There is no incentive depending on the option, but the amount is fully guaranteed. Considering that Kim Sung-hyun, born in 1987, turns 37 this year, it is highly expected that he will actually play for Landers until the end of his career.

Kim Sung-hyun is likely to take off his active uniform as a “one-club man.” The Gwangju native joined the team after graduating from Gwangju Il High School as the SK Wyverns, the predecessor of SSG, in the 2006 rookie draft. And he never changed teams. He also signed one free agent contract. He got his first free agent qualification ahead of the 2021 season, and signed with SK for a total of 1.1 billion won for 2+1 years.

And three seasons have passed since he signed his contract as an FA. In order for him to qualify as an FA for the second time, he has to play one more season. After renewing his annual salary contract, he could become an FA at the end of the 2024 season. However, the club first offered Kim Sung-hyun a multi-year contract as a non-FA. A total of 600 million won for three years. Although it is a small amount compared to the contracts of large players, guaranteeing three years of time for a veteran player who is nearing his late 30s is quite meaningful. It is the same as the club first communicated that Kim Sung-hyun is still needed in SSG and that he wants to be with him until the end of his career.

After signing a multi-year contract, Kim Sung-hyun also said, “I am grateful to the club that offered me the contract first. I am happy to continue my career in SSG, which I have been with for a long time. As you are looking forward to playing a veteran role in the team, I will do my best to show good performances with my juniors.”

Both the player and the club are “win-win” contracts. Until now, multi-year contracts have been more intentional for the club to tie up big players first. SSG also signed contracts with the team’s star players, including Moon Seung-won, Park Jong-hoon, and Han Yu-seom, and other clubs do the same. Koo Chang-mo, Park Se-woong, and Koo Ja-wook are representative examples.

However, there are cases where they signed multi-year contracts out of necessity, such as Choi Hyung-woo, who recently signed a multi-year contract with the KIA Tigers at the age of over 40, and Kim Sung-hyun, who became a multi-year contract signing despite not being a multi-billion-won contract, are emerging. Players are motivated by loyalty, affection for the team and a sense of stability that guarantees their career. On the other hand, from the club’s point of view, it is possible to reduce variables according to the FA market situation and catch veteran players who positively influence the team in advance.

SSG removed infielder Choi Joo-hwan from the second draft protection list after the season ended in November last year. Choi was an FA player who signed a W4.2 billion contract. Before the contract expired, he made a bold decision to remove him from the protection list and he transferred to the Kiwoom Heroes with the No. 1 overall pick.

With Choi Joo-hwan moving his team, the existence of Kim Sung-hyun, an all-around multi-agent, is even more urgent. It is possible to defend shortstop and third base as well as second base, which have recently become the main position, and shows the most stable play. SSG’s first and second bases still have many variables, with key shortstop Park Sung-han and third baseman Choi Jeong holding out. Amid the expected fierce auditions of young promising infielders, if Kim Sung-hyun takes the center stage, anxiety can be further reduced. In addition, the club even considered the positive impact of Kim Sung-hyun, the No. 1 candidate for captain selected by his juniors every time, on the team.

In the composition and contract of the team, the establishment of the team’s strategy needs to be established from a longer-term perspective in the future. This is even more so in the salary cap era. I’m looking forward to seeing if Kim Sung-hyun can be another best example.


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