Contrary to the wishes of former and current LG coaches, Oh has always been a key shortstop who plays 1,000 innings. Manager Yeom Kyung-yeop once again declared to manage Oh’s defensive innings this year, but Oh’s reaction remains consistent. His goal for a season is to play more than 1,000 innings.”헤라카지노도메인
Oh played shortstop in 1,010 ⅔s in 125 games last year. He started 115 games and substituted in 10 games. Despite a period of absence due to injury, he ranked third in his team in defense innings and 11th in the league.
Among shortstop players, Oh is ranked sixth after Lee Jae-hyun (Samsung Lions, 1156 ⅓ innings), Park Sung-han (SSG Landers, 1090 ⅓ innings), Park Chan-ho (KIA Tigers, 1042 ⅔ innings), Kim Joo-won (NC Dinos, 1030 innings), and Kim Sang-soo (kt Wiz, 1020 ⅓ innings). This may seem nothing special, but the true value of Oh is evident in his 1,000 innings pitched in consecutive seasons. Starting with 1,198 ⅔ in 2018, Oh has exceeded 1,000 innings for six consecutive years through last year. A season in which Oh failed to exceed 1,000 innings, it can be said that he was injured for no other reason. To that extent, he was an irreplaceable shortstop in LG.
After former coach Ryu Joong-il emphasized that the main fielders should play every day, the team leaders who have passed LG over the past three years agreed to manage Oh’s defensive innings. Former coach Ryu Ji-hyun and current coach Yeom Kyung-yeop both believed that Oh should adjust his playing time to maintain his condition throughout the season. More specifically, Yeom Kyung-yeop also hinted at suggesting “carrot” to Oh, saying, “You need to rest properly to improve your batting average.”
However, nothing has changed. In 2021 and 2022, when former coach Ryu Ji-hyun was in office, and last year when Yeom Kyung-yeop took charge of the team, Oh exceeded 1,000 innings. He was always in the top three in his team, and he has never ranked outside the 11th in the league as a whole.
Against this backdrop, Yeom Kyung-yeop once again emphasized the management of Oh’s defensive innings. Looking back on last year, he said he failed to foster fielders, adding that he must have a player to fill Oh’s spot in the new season. “I think it will be important to see how much Kim Bum-suk and Song Chan’s Sohn Ho-young improves. These three players must develop. There were cases where players were biased towards specific fielders. This is due to the failure of development. Park Dong-won, Oh Ji-hwan and Park Hae-min had too many defensive innings. Even if players continue to play, they should reduce defensive innings. To do that, we need to nurture fielders.”
Nevertheless, Oh remains the same. “My goal is to play more than 1,000 innings every year. My goal is to play more than 1,000 innings every year,” he said with a smile when departing for the Arizona Spring Camp on April 30. “Coaches say that to be considerate, but I don’t think I can.”
“It’s up to the coach to lose weight, but I feel sorry for other players.” (Kim) Min-soo came, but Son Ho-young and Kim Joo-sung couldn’t come to the spring camp due to injury. I had expected that I would be able to take some rest, but I changed my mind again. I’m just going to prepare with the mindset that I’m playing in all 144 games. I’ll do my best again.”
Kim Min-sung (145 innings), who played shortstop more than Oh Ji-hwan last year, moved to Lotte Giants through sign-and-trade, leaving his No. 1 backup job vacant. Koo Bon-hyeok, who served in military service in Sangmu, is expected to take over. Kim Min-sung’s trade partner Kim Min-soo is also a likely candidate. Lee Young-bin, who will be discharged from the military during the season, is also considered a promising shortstop. Another highlight of this season is whether Yeom Kyung-yeop will give a chance to replace Oh among them.
Meanwhile, Oh Ji-hwan’s six-year contract as an FA was launched from this season. The six-year, 12.4 billion won (14.7 million U.S. dollars) extension contract, which he only agreed on in a broad framework last year, started in the form of an FA contract, not a non-FA multi-year contract. However, Oh said that the end of the six-year contract does not mean that his career will be put to an end.
“I feel good about a six-year contract. I’ve been working for more than 20 years in one job, and I really like that. But actually, I have a plan for the next one. (Even after the six-year contract ends), I’m going to do it for two or three more years. That’s why I try not to be complacent. I’m not the same person in my nature,” he said.
“I think I have to do a lot of things while looking back on what I can do and what my juniors and the team need. There are many things I have to do as a senior, captain, and one-club man. Still, when I think of personal baseball, I am not complacent (with a six-year contract) and aim to do it for another two years and try harder,” he said, expressing his determination as a franchise star and a “golden bullion.”