Although the start of the spring camp in 2023 is 15 days away, the contract fronts of uncontracted free agents (FA) remaining in the market are still frozen. While the player’s concerns deepen in the absolute club advantage market, the club is not in a comfortable situation. Dramatic breakthroughs must be found quickly.
This year’s free agent market is characterized by the fact that the large-fish players who received good reviews signed contracts faster than expected, while the uncontracted period of players who did not do so is getting longer than ever. There are still five free agents left on the market. On the pitcher side, Han Hyun-hee, Jung Chan-heon, and Kang Ri-ho (previously renamed Kang Yun-goo), and on the fielder side, Lee Myung-ki and Kwon Hee-dong are still unsigned.
What the five players have in common is that their performance in the season immediately before free agency was not very good, and considering their performance over the past two years, they are not attractive enough to risk the compensation barrier. The club side is also not very active in setting a table with the players in question. It is the attitude that there is no need to rush. This is why FA negotiations are protracted.
Discussions on sign-and-trade are also quiet while there is a view that some players may have been completely excluded from the original club’s strategy plan. It is true that some clubs are interested, but it has been confirmed that it is closer to a wait-and-see situation than detailed discussions such as guessing cards. Clubs interested in trade discussions are in no hurry. This is because there is a possibility that the value of the player in question will decrease as time goes on.
An agent in the market expressed the current market situation with the words, “There are stories of this and that, but they are not groundbreaking. It seems to go a little further.” It means that there is no breakthrough that can satisfy both the club and the players even when the agency is running in all directions. It is known that some clubs have even conveyed their intention to the agency to come up with a plan. However, there is a limit for the 안전놀이터 agency to lead the discussion, and whether the club in question is satisfied with the card is another matter. There are even rumors that the white flag surrender was too late.
The KBO League clubs will officially announce the camp list when the ongoing salary negotiations for 2023 are completed. A club official said, “We cannot put players whose salary negotiations have not been finalized into the camp roster.” In fact, some clubs are watching the situation after drawing up an ‘A plan’ excluding players whose negotiations will be prolonged and a ‘B plan’ including them. Since all 10 clubs are going abroad, there are much more to prepare than in Korea.
Next week is the Lunar New Year holiday, so the calculation of each club is to speed up and finish the game within this week. The same goes for FA players. There needs to be some progress this week before camp rosters are finalized. It is natural that there will be difficulties in preparing for the season if you cannot participate in the camp. As of now, there is a high possibility that it will be over until the Lunar New Year holidays, and attention is being paid to whether there will be unsigned players left after the start of the camp.