Ahead of the 2023 KBO League, the team that succeeded in strengthening the most distinct power was the Lotte Giants, who ranked 8th last year. Lotte recruited free agent catcher Yoo Kang-nam (4 years, 8 billion won) and shortstop Roh Jin-hyeok (4 years, 5 billion won), and on the 17th, they also brought in free agent pitcher Han Hyun-hee (4 years, 4 billion won). The hope that Lotte, which has been evenly reinforced in defense as well as pitching, can aim to advance to the postseason this year is gaining strength.
However, as the number 10 has been permanently removed since last year, some people question whether it will completely fill the void left by the retired Lee Dae-ho. This is because the leadership of Lee Dae-ho, who was a franchise star and veteran, as well as the number 4 batter must be filled by someone. The player who is considered the right person is Jeon Jun-woo, who became the most senior member of the team.
Jeon Jun-woo, who graduated from Konkuk University and was nominated by Lotte in 2008 with the 15th place in the 2nd round, is a ‘one team man’ who has always played only at Lotte. Jeon Jun-woo, who was recognized for his potential by becoming the MVP of the Futures All-Star Game in the first year of his professional debut, has been a first team starter since 2010. At the time, Lotte enjoyed a resurgence by catching both rabbits, box office success and performance, with hot offensive baseball under the direction of foreign commander Royster.
※ Lotte Jeon Jun-woo’s major records in the last 5 seasons
However, at this time, Lee Dae-ho, who had established himself as the main player of Lotte, retired, and Jang Won-jun, Kang Min-ho, and Son A-seop transferred to other teams in turn as free agents. In the recent KBO League, due to free agents and trades, the one-team man who stays in one team from debut to retirement is gradually disappearing. Jeon Jun-woo can be highly evaluated for being an unchanging ‘Lotte Man’.
Jeon Jun-woo first obtained FA qualification after the end of the 2019 season. He was expected in the free agency market as a hitter from the national team with both long hitting power and sophistication. However, he remained at Lotte for a total of 3.8 billion won for 4 years of free agency, which is smaller than expected. It is interpreted that this is because Lotte concluded the contract without ‘market competition’ because other teams did not actively recruit Jeon Jun-woo.
For the three years since his free agent contract until last year, Jeon Jun-woo proved to be steady. In 2020, the first year after his retention contract, he hit 26 homers, and in 2021 and 2022, he achieved a batting average of 300. From 2021, he tried to change his focus on sophistication rather than being conscious of his home run, and it was successful. 스포츠토토
Over the past three years, the sum of WAR (Based on Kaby Report), which represents the contribution to victory versus substitute players, was 10.02, already exceeding 10. This season, the last year of his four-year contract, remains, but the favorable reviews are dominant that Jeon Jun-woo has already achieved the free agent ransom. It is not an exaggeration to say that Jeon Jun-woo is the first to be classified as a ‘model free agent’, considering the ‘FA frenzy’ in which the ransom of free agents in the KBO league soars.
Expectations are very high for Jeon Jun-woo, who will obtain his second FA qualification after the end of this season. This time, observations are raised that he can be treated well in the free agent market. If Jeon Jun-woo signs a contract with Lotte to remain a free agent, he will in fact reserve a ‘Lotte man for life’.
Lotte, who went straight to the semi-playoffs in 3rd place in the regular season in 2017, is worried that fall baseball has been frustrated for five consecutive years from 2018 to last year and has entered a’new dark period’. Attention is focusing on whether Jeon Jun-woo will reach the ‘FA jackpot’ contract after taking the lead in Lotte’s fall baseball.