The LG Twins have acquired “trade-maximum” pitcher Choi Won-tae, shoring up their homegrown starting pitching weaknesses in one fell swoop. Could the SSG Landers, who are in contention with LG for the championship, also make a big trade deadline deal, which is looking very unlikely at this point.
The defending champions have 50 wins, one draw and 35 losses this season. They’re sitting firmly in second place in the league, 2.5 games behind league leader LG.
SSG was one of the most sought-after teams in the trade market this year. SSG has had the most trouble with their starting rotation this season. Despite leading the league in team reliever WAR (7.58), SSG is dead last in the league in team starter WAR (3.19).
Looking at the foreign pitchers, Elias and McCarty are clearly less potent than last year’s combination of Font and Morimando. The situation is even worse for the homegrown starters. Kim Kwang-hyun’s velocity has dropped significantly from last year, while Oh Won-seok and Park Jong-hoon have struggled with ups and downs. No surprise starters have emerged in the first half of the season.
It’s true that SSG was actively looking to bolster its starting pitching staff until the last minute of the trade market. However, in the end, the cards were not in their favor.
When contacted by MK Sports on July 31, an SSG representative said, “We were fully aware of the weakness of our starting lineup in the first half of the season and made moves in the trade market. We searched in many ways, but there was still a gap in our thinking at the negotiating table. Now that we’ve reached the deadline, it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to complete a trade this season 메이저사이트.”
Ultimately, in a trade climate, SSG will have to rely on their existing talent for the remainder of the season. SSG’s internal view is that Elias and McCarty can fulfill their roles to a certain extent and rebound the native starters.
“The two foreign pitchers don’t carry as much weight as they did last year, but I think they’re doing their part. Now, it is not easy to replace them with new foreign pitchers. If Oh Won-seok and Park Jong-hoon continue to pitch like they did last week, we can expect a rebound in the starting lineup from August.”
In the bullpen, a healthy return of Choi Min-jun will also be key. Choi has been rehabbing from a right oblique injury since his June 22 start. The rehabilitation period took longer than originally expected.
A club official said, “The absence of Choi Min-jun led to the overload of the bullpen at the end of the first half. If Choi returns in early August, we will be able to operate the bullpen normally. This could be a big help for the team’s mound operation in the second half of the season. In the outfield, the team hopes to see a rebound from Han Yoo-seom and Jeon Eui-san. It’s better to hope for a rebound and a return to form from an existing player than to make a clumsy trade.”
With the 11:59 p.m. July 31 trade deadline just around the corner, a dramatic trade seems less likely. We wonder if SSG will be able to keep up with LG’s momentum after the Choi Won-tae big deal by utilizing its existing roster to the fullest.