“Lotte pitchers throw 150 km, but I can throw 142 km…” The prelude to the tragedy of not signing an FA contract
I often use the phrase ‘life is timing’. In the baseball world, everyone agrees with the saying, “The timing must be right even for free agents.” 메이저놀이터
Every baseball player dreams of becoming a free agent. This can be a huge motivator. Free agent left-handed pitcher Kang Ri-ho (33, former name Kang Yun-gu) also declared free agency after last season to exercise his right to be the first and last in his life.
In fact, it was not the right FA timing for Kang Ri-ho. He could not escape the swamp of sluggishness that continued from 2020 when he was in NC. Last year, he pitched 29 games and pitched 21⅓ innings with a 5.48 earned run average.
Why couldn’t Kang Ri-ho get out of the swamp of sluggishness? In the early days of his professional debut, he drew attention as a left-handed fire bowler, but ‘tragedy’ began when he lost his fastball, his main weapon.
On the 3rd, through his Instagram live broadcast, Kang Ri-ho said that one of the reasons for applying for free agency was that he had judged that his role in Lotte, where there are many fastball pitchers, was bound to be limited.
Kang Ri-ho said, “Lotte pitchers are all fast on average. Everyone throws 150 km. I admit it.” Even though I tried, it only came out up to 144 km,” he said.
Kang Ri-ho said, “Lotte pitchers have good potential. That’s why they applied for FA.” After losing his fastball, he suffered setbacks in an increasingly small role. Kang Ri-ho said, “Once I pitched in the ninth inning with two outs and got on the bus, but I didn’t make a sound and only shed tears. I wondered if it was meaningful to play baseball like this.” It was difficult when it suddenly fell,” he said.
He was trying to get his fastball back somehow. But the results just didn’t follow. Kang Ri-ho said, “I’m really confident. I’ve put in all my efforts for three years. I can call everyone, including the players and coaching staff, and talk about it.”
Could the timing not be so right? Kang Ri-ho, who had a lot of frustration over the past three years, fulfilled his FA qualifications in the meantime, and exercised his FA rights with the will to “quit baseball if I become a lost FA” despite Lotte general manager Seong Min-gyu’s dissuade. Unfortunately, Kang Ri-ho is still ‘independent’. Kang Ri-ho is seeking various career paths, not just the KBO league. Kang Li-ho said, “He is looking into various fields, such as an independent baseball team, Mexico, and Taiwan.”