The Kia Tigers and catcher Kim Tae-gun are still at the negotiating table for a multi-year contract. With both the club and the player exchanging ‘ping-pong’, it will be interesting to see if a dramatic deal can be reached in August.
Kim Tae-gun donned the KIA uniform on July 5 in a one-for-one trade for infielder Ryu Ji-hyuk. After struggling at the catcher position for the first half of the season, KIA was urged by manager Kim Jong-guk to bolster its outfield.
Kim Tae-gun, who played in a “three-catcher system” with Kang Min-ho and Kim Jae-sung during his time with the Samsung Lions, didn’t get much playing time. From KIA’s point of view, the signing of Kim Tae-gun, who needed more playing time, was a great way to strengthen the team and motivate the player.
Kim Tae-gun has been on a non-free agent multi-year contract since he joined KIA. Kim, who will be eligible for free agency for the second time after the end of this season, wanted to put his troubles behind him and focus on his game under a stable, long-term contract. For Kia, it would have been risk-free to lock up Kim before he hit the free agent market.
Kia already paid a heavy price last year for failing to retain Park Dong-won, who was accused of demanding money for his services. Naturally, Park Dong-won, who was supposed to be retained on a non-free agent multi-year contract, went to the free agent market and rejected an attractive offer from Wonsoo. This time, the club’s idea is to retain Kim Tae-gun on a multi-year contract to establish a stable catcher development direction.
Kim Tae-gun’s multi-year contract table ‘ping-ponged’ for a month, but recently resumed negotiations have begun to narrow differences of opinion
Kim Tae-gun appeared in 77 games this season, batting .268 with 56 hits, one home run, 30 RBI, a .320 on-base percentage and a .325 slugging percentage. While his batting pace sagged a bit in July (batting .205) after the trade, Kim rebounded in August with a .357 monthly average (15-for-42). Kim’s recent hitting streak shows why the KIA organization brought him in.
On defense, he has also shown the steadiness of a veteran catcher. Manager Kim Jong-kook said, “Since Kim Tae-gun joined the team, the pitchers have felt psychologically comfortable and are showing stable pitching. His experience as a veteran catcher, including ball placement and blocking, stands out,” he said.
The negotiations between Kim and the KIA organization for a multi-year contract began in mid-July. About a month passed, during which the two sides exchanged views. There was a lull in the negotiations, but in recent days, the two sides have reportedly returned to the table and narrowed their differences somewhat.
A KIA representative told MK Sports, “We are continuing to discuss a multi-year contract with Kim Tae-gun’s side. We are narrowing the gap by exchanging our desired terms. There is definitely a desire to tie up a multi-year contract somehow. We need more time because the situation is different from last year’s discussions with Park Dong-won.”메이저놀이터
With a multi-year deal finalized, Kim will be able to relax and focus on the team’s race for the title in August.