2020-21 Offseason Thread
Hello everyone. I am a KT Wiz fan who joined the Wiz fandom in 2016 when I learned that pitcher Ju Kwon is actually born in China and moved to South Korea when he was 10 (he also pitched for China in 2017 World Baseball Classic). As a fellow Chinese, I am quite proud of his achievements and felt supporting his team is pretty cool, knowing that it is very difficult to make a living in a foreign land.
Anyway, I've been following the team for 5 seasons and have written about Ju Kwon and KT Wiz on other platforms. As you may all know supporting a team has its ups and downs, but for KT Wiz fans this season has been so rewarding after years and years of poor baseball and losing seasons. Success is hard to come by and even harder to maintain. In recent KBO seasons, SK Wyverns and Kia Tigers both have fallen from great heights. After a good first half of 2018, Hanwha Eagles has continued to muddle in the basement.
In order to avoid the fates of SK, Kia and Hanwha and become more like our conquerors this year Doosan and fellow expansion brothers NC, KT Wiz needs to sustain a competitive window . Waves upon waves of talent must be churned out to maintain a good standing. This offseason is as good as any to survey the state of the team and explore how to make this team better. So I'd like to hear from all of you nice people and share some of my thoughts.
I believe that KT's most viable path to a championship is within the next four years, before Kang Baek-ho is eligible to be posted to MLB clubs. He is the second-best Korean talent of his generation (only Lee Jung-Hoo of Kiwoom is more well-rounded) and there is no reason to believe that if he sustains this level of performance, he will avoid attempting a MLB shot. Given the likelihood of him getting onto the Korean national team and medalling in Tokyo 2021 and/or winning the 2022 Hangzhou Asian games, military service should not be an issue for him. Without Kang Baek-Ho playing a major part, I don't see Wiz going very far.
So the question is how to build a competitive team around Kang. Given the contracts of our two other lineup pillars, Hwang Gae-Jyun and Yoo Han-Joon, both will expire next year, the best shot at a championship may very well come next year. Veterans catcher Jang Sung-Woo, second baseman Park Kyung-Soo, and outfielder Jo Yong-Ho are all getting past their primes as well, so unless they defy aging curves or the recent high draft picks such as Kang Hyeon-Woo, Chun Seung-Ho and Hong Hyun-Bin become big contributors very soon, it is unlikely that the future lineup will be stronger than the one we saw in 2020. As well, Doosan will likely be losing quite a few of their championship core after this season and Kim Ha-Seong and Yang Hyun-Jong may be leaving for MLB, so the field of opponents next year could be weakened, making it an even more enticing for a championship run.
To bolster the 2021 aspirations, KT would need to do a combination of the following:
1) Re-sign Rojas or find a foreigner that could be a top-5 player in the KBO. This could be easier given the flood of non-tendered MLB free agents. However, that would require our analytics team to be extremely prudent on their skillset, willingness to relocate to South Korea, and performance translation. Preferably the foreigner can have some defensive flexibility. With a lack of depth in CF, SS, and to less of a degree 3B, it will be difficult if one of Bae Jeong-Dae, Sim Woo-Jun and Hwang Gae-Jyun is injured. Very little margin for error here.
2) Hit on both foreign pitchers on short term deals. Preferably go for those who have proven success in the KBO (Any chance of Alcantara reunion?).
3) Find at least 1 player in the second round draft that will contribute right away. The second round draft usually is a veteran-based draft. These players are heavy on experience and should either provide length in the lineup or another solid bullpen arm.
4) Hit on at least of one their position player draft picks from before the 2019 draft, preferably an infielder. Hwang, Sim, and Park could all use someone who could spell them without compromising too much with the bat or defense on their off days.
5) Sign a major free agent if the right player comes on the free agent market. (I don't know who would be eligible for free agency given the opaqueness of KBO transactions) The free agent compensation in KBO is quite unfriendly to the signing team, but if the right player is available, it would help the 2021 team immensely.
6) Repeat the bullpen puzzle of 2019-20 offseason. I would never have guessed bringing in seemingly washed-up pitchers Yoo Won-Sang and Lee Bo-Geun would contribute so much to the 3rd best bullpen by ERA. More of the same please!
I am confident enough in our 2021 starting rotation as long as both foreign pitchers contribute at this year's level. With Ko Young-Pyo returning, he, Bae Je-Seong, and So Hyeong-Jun should be able to form a young and decent domestic rotation, with Kim Min, Kim Min-Soo and Jo Byung-Wook as potential depth starters. Bae Je-Seong would need to do his military service very soon, but if he stays on the team next year, that would help massively.
Just some food for thought. I would love to hear back from all of you, especially those who speaks Korean and can access much more information about Wiz than I could.
submitted by chizzychisnall