Re-signing a foreigner who showed desperation

When free agent Park Dong-won came to the LG Twins, when the press asked him to share a tip for LG players about the new manager, he said, “He is always interested in the players and is watching them. Don’t think about cheating, but be honest.”

Coach Yeom has a tremendous passion for baseball. He wants to succeed as a coach because he failed as a player. So he studies and studies and studies. He hopes that there won’t be another player like him. He wants his players to be the best they can be through hard work and effort, and he’s relentless when they don’t show that desperation. Especially when a player with potential shows laziness, he’s even more cold-hearted.

This is the reason why Yoon was unusually bitter about Kim Bum-seok in the media.

Kim, a second-year high school catcher who was drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2023 first round, trained at Arizona’s first team camp for the first time this season, but returned to South Korea on Nov. 16 (KST) with an adductor muscle injury. He became the club’s first early returnee due to an adductor muscle injury. The injury is not serious, but he will undergo a medical examination and rehabilitation in Korea.

He was recognized for his hitting ability by hitting 10 home runs, the most ever since high school baseball used wooden bats, but he impressed fans even more with the words of LG President Cha Myung-seok at the time of his signing.”I picked him because he is Kim Bum-seok,” Cha said, adding that the proper name Kim Bum-seok will be synonymous with the KBO League in the future, and he expected great potential from him.

However, Kim didn’t make it to Arizona’s first team camp last year. He rehabilitated his right shoulder, which had been bothering him since high school. Because of the shoulder, he played in the Futures League last year as a designated hitter instead of a catcher.

Yoon promoted Kim to the first team last October and used him as a pinch-hitter and first baseman. In 10 games, Kim batted 1-for-1 (3-for-27) with one home run and four RBIs, including his first career home run. That seemed to be enough to get him some first-team experience, and Yoon included him in the Korean Series roster. After Park Dong-won and Heo Do-hwan, Kim was selected as a possible third catcher in case of need. It’s clear that Yoon recognized Kim’s talent and wanted to nurture it.

In an interview with reporters in early January, Yeom revealed his plans to use Kim Bum-seok in the first team. He was going to use him as a third catcher and first baseman and develop him in the first team. Heo Do-hwan would be a late-game substitute catcher and Kim Bum-seok would start when Park Dong-won was rested, an unconventional plan.

But Kim had homework. He had to lose weight. It’s something Yeom has been talking about since last year. He was too big and there were concerns about injury. Not only Yi, but also Kim Hyun-soo, a senior player, said that Kim Bum-seok needed to lose weight. Quality control coach Lee Ho-joon decided to work with Kim one-on-one in spring training, which drew more attention from fans.

However, two weeks into the camp, Kim suffered an injury. It wasn’t a major injury, so he could have continued to train at the camp with management. However, coach Yeom sent him home. He wasn’t ready. “I told him directly that he needed to lose weight,” Yi told the local press. But he didn’t lose any weight, which increases the risk of injury.” “It’s a lack of preparation. Kim Hyun-soo, who is good at baseball, lost a lot of weight. He should feel what he feels.”

Athletes who are given a chance by their coaches are naturally talented. But you have to work for it. You have to prove that you deserve it.

Kim Bum-seok might have gotten complacent and thought he could just lose weight in training. But these days, you have to come to camp in shape. Even if the coaching staff wanted him to lose weight in camp, he should have lost some weight to show that he was trying and that he was desperate.

In his time with the Heroes, Yeom has dropped young players from the first team to the second team on several occasions. On the surface, he cited injuries and other reasons, but in the back briefing, he criticized his mental state.

There was a time when Yeom came to LG to evaluate a player’s attitude. That player was foreign pitcher Casey Kelida. Kelly struggled last year. He went 10-7 with a 3.83 ERA. It was his fewest wins and worst ERA in the five years he’s been playing since 2019. At one point during the season, he was seriously considered for replacement. He’ll turn 35 this year, so he could have switched to a new foreign pitcher in the new season.

However, Yeom publicly expressed his desire to stick with Kelly during the Korean Series last year. This was because he continued to show effort to do well. During the season, Yeom encouraged him to throw a forkball rather than a changeup. He didn’t throw a forkball during the season, but during the Blue-Black game before the Korean Series, he surprised Yoon with a forkball as a gift, and he used it in Game 1 of the Korean Series, showing a different side to his game.

As a foreign player, he was so eager to accept the coach’s suggestion and put it into practice that Yi decided to keep him for another year.

Kim Bum-seok was given the task of losing weight in exchange for a guaranteed first-team opportunity. But he didn’t, and when he got injured in camp, he learned firsthand the consequences of not losing weight, and his chance was lost.

Yeom’s decision to send Kim Bum-seok home sets an example for all LG players. You have to keep trying and be desperate. As Park Dong-won said, Yeom is watching.


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