In the 2022 KBO League, the team with the largest drop in ranking compared to the previous year was the Doosan Bears. Doosan succeeded in advancing to the Korean Series for the 7th consecutive year in 2021 and achieved runner-up. 

However, in 2022, it fell to ninth place, dropping seven places in the rankings. Far from advancing to the Korean Series for 8 consecutive years, even fall baseball was frustrated. Doosan, which did not renew the contract with manager Kim Tae-hyung, whose term of office expired after the season, chose a change by appointing a new manager Lee Seung-yeop. 

It is unknown whether coach Lee Seung-yeop will aim to advance to the postseason right away in 2023, or whether he will look at the generational change with a long breath. Some point out that Doosan, which recruited Yang Eui-ji, the best catcher in the league, for a total of 15.2 billion won in 6 years of free agency, the largest ever, is natural for Doosan to produce results this year. 

In any case, head coach Lee Seung-yeop, who is entering the first season of his three-year term, is very likely to give many opportunities to young players. This is because most of the key players who made the ‘Doosan Dynasty’ have risen to the ranks of veterans, and young players are in dire need of growth.

However, Doosan’s infield is very competitive compared to other teams. In particular, it is difficult to find an infielder who can take full-time responsibility with only defense alone, let alone both offense and defense in the keystone. This is why the role of veteran shortstop Kim Jae-ho is still important. 

Kim Jae-ho played 메이저사이트 in 102 games last year, but was sluggish with a batting average of 0.215, 1 home run, 21 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.564. The WAR (based on the KB Report), which represents the contribution to victory compared to the substitute player, was negative at -0.14. He did not demonstrate any improvement, as his batting average of 0.209, 1 home run, 24 RBIs, OPS 0.567 and WAR -0.27 were pretty close to his poor 2021 record. 

As a shortstop, he played defense for 580 innings, the most in the team, and was able to be classified as a practical starting shortstop. The number of errors was 6, which was not arithmetic. However, on September 30th, against the Samsung Lions in Daegu, he committed 3 mistakes in the bottom of the first inning only and was shocked when he was replaced for blame.

Last year, Kim Jae-ho clearly showed that his overall defensive range and agility were not as good as in the past. Born in 1985, he played the 37-year-old season and could not hide the ‘aging curve’ throughout the offense and defense. The aura that contributed to the championship of Korean baseball by playing as a shortstop for the 2015 Premier 12 national team has disappeared.

Jaeho Kim obtained his second FA qualification ahead of the 2021 season and signed a retention contract with Doosan for a total of 2.5 billion won over three years, effectively reserving the “Lifetime Doosan Man”. This year is the season when the FA contract expires, so if Kim Jae-ho fails to prove a rebound, he may be forced to retire.

In the video of Jae-won Oh’s retirement ceremony prepared by the Doosan Club last year, Jae-ho Kim said, “Congratulations on your retirement. I’m coming soon, too,” suggesting his retirement. 

Whether or not Kim Jae-ho’s rebound in 2023 is expected to be inseparable from Doosan’s team performance as well as whether he will extend his active service. Attention is focusing on whether Kim Jae-ho will succeed in restoring his honor by firmly defending Doosan’s infield.

‘Lifelong Doosan Man’ Kim Jae-ho, shall we burn the last flame?

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