It’s stovepipe time. The recruitment war between the 10 KBO teams for the 2024 season has begun.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced the list of players eligible for free agency (FA) in 2024 on Friday.
A total of 34 players are eligible for free agency this year, including 12 newcomers, eight re-qualifiers, and 14 retained players.
Of these, eight are Grade A, 14 are Grade B, and 12 are Grade C players.
By club, SSG Landers has the most players with six, followed by LG Twins and Samsung Lions with five, Lotte Giants with four, KT WIZ, Doosan Bears, KIA Tigers and Kiwoom Heroes with three, and NC Dinos and Hanwha Eagles with one each.
Players who are eligible for free agency must apply to the KBO for approval to exercise their free agency rights by the 17th, two days after the announcement, and the KBO will announce the approved players on the 18th.
The 10 KBO clubs and overseas teams will be able to sign free agents from the 19th.
LG, which won the Korean Series (KS) for the first time in 29 years, will have starting pitcher Im Chan-kyu, bullpener Ham Deok-ju and infielders Kim Min-sung and Seo Geon-chang eligible.
Captain Oh Ji-hwan is also eligible for free agency, but he signed a multi-year contract in January for six years and a total of 12.4 billion won, so he is not on the market.
The runner-up KT WIZ has closer Kim Jae-yoon eligible for free agency. Bullpen reliever Joo and veteran infielder Park Kyung-soo are also eligible for free agency.
The NC Dinos have only one free agent, bullpen pitcher Shim Chang-min, while SSG Landers will lose catchers Lee Jae-won and Kim Min-sik to free agency.
Veteran pitchers Moon Seung-won and Park Jong-hoon, infielder Choi Jung-jeong and outfielder Han Yoo-seom are also listed, but all are locked into long-term contracts.
Doosan will release infielder Yang Seok-hwan and reliever Hong Gun-hee, who are among the biggest free agents this year.
Yang is a primary first base option and Hong has been a dominant closer, so multiple teams are likely to compete for his services.
Veteran pitcher Jang Won-jun was eligible for free agency but announced his retirement early.
The KIA Tigers have one of the best hitting infielders on the market in Kim Sun-bin. Born in 1989, he’s not old, but he can still play at a starting level.
Go Jong-wook is also a free agent with good offense.
For Lotte, which is looking to make the leap to a new regime, veteran infielder Ahn Chi-hong and outfielder Jeon Jun-woo are each eligible for free agency for the second time in their careers. Reliever Shin Jeong-rak also made the list. Homegrown ace Park Se-woong will not be on the market as he signed a multi-year contract with Lotte.
For Samsung, the ‘endgame king’ Oh Seung-hwan is a free agent. It will be interesting to see what he chooses between retirement and extension.
Infielder Kang Kang-ul, outfielder Kim Heon-gon, and bullpen pitcher Kim Dae-woo are also free agents. Koo Ja-rook is locked into a multi-year contract.
Hanwha lost veteran starter Jang Min-jae, while Kiwoom lost veteran bullpener Im Chang-min, outfielder Lee Yong-kyu, and national team catcher Lee Ji-young.
In this year’s free agency market, if 11 to 20 players exercise their free agency rights, each team can sign two outside free agents.
Between 21 and 30 players, each team can sign three outside free agents.
Teams that sign a Class A player as an outside free agent must compensate their original club 200% of the previous year’s salary and one player outside of the 20 protected players or 300% of the previous year’s salary.
The compensation for a Class B player is 100% of the previous year’s salary and 200% of the previous year’s salary for one player outside of the 25 protected players, and 150% of the previous year’s salary for a Class C player. 슬롯게이밍