Doosan Bears’ “Living Legend” infielder Kim Jae-ho will join the Futures Team’s camp in Miyazaki, Japan, after finalizing his contract negotiations with the club. He is expected to be in good shape in time for the opening game in the middle of next month.
Doosan announced in an official press release on Sept. 9 that it has finalized contracts with all 61 players who are eligible to renew their contracts for the 2024 season. Kim Jae-ho, who was unable to finalize his contract before spring training, reached an agreement with Doosan on the afternoon of the 8th. He signed for an annual salary of 300 million won.
Kim Jae-ho was a highly touted prospect who joined Doosan as a first round pick out of Chungang High School in 2004. He struggled for first-team playing time in his rookie year due to the presence of seniors such as Son Si-heon and Ki Rah-sung, but after returning from military service in 2008, he showed his competitiveness by batting .249 (65-for-261) with one home run, 21 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 112 games.
Kim Jae-ho has been the centerpiece of Doosan’s infield since the 2013 season. In 91 games, he improved his batting average to .315 (78-for-248) with one home run, 32 RBIs, and nine stolen bases, and his impeccable defense, which has been highly regarded since his days as a prospect, helped the team to a runner-up finish in the Korean Series.
Kim Jae-ho made the leap into the starting shortstop role for Doosan in 2014. In 122 games, he batted .252 (86-for-341) with three home runs, 54 RBIs, and two doubles, successfully transitioning to full-time experience.
Kim Jae-ho surpassed Doosan as the KBO’s leading shortstop in the 2015 season. He batted .307 (126-for-410) with three home runs, 50 RBIs, 63 runs scored, seven doubles, and a .788 OPS in 133 games, helping Doosan win its first Korean Series title in 14 years. In addition to winning the Golden Glove for shortstop, he was also named to the inaugural WBSC Premier12 team and helped lead Korea to its first ever championship.
Kim Jae-ho maintained his position as the KBO’s No. 1 shortstop in the 2016 season. In 137 games, he batted .310 (129-for-416) with seven home runs, 78 RBIs, 69 runs scored, and an OPS of .829, while also playing impeccable defense and going down in Bears history as a key member of Doosan’s championship run.
Jae-ho Kim set career highs in 2018. In 131 games, he batted .311 (125-for-402) with 16 home runs, 75 RBIs, 78 runs scored, and an OPS of .870.
Kim Jae-ho added another championship ring in 2019. He laid the groundwork for Doosan’s dramatic championship run. In the Korean Series against the Kiwoom Heroes, he batted .364 with 15 hits, four doubles, and three RBIs in four games.
Kim Jae-ho has been a Bears one-club man since his debut in 2004. He signed a four-year, $5 billion deal when he became a free agent for the first time after the 2016 season and a three-year, $2.5 billion deal when he exercised his second free agency option after the 2020 season.
He struggled in 2021, batting .209 (44-for-211) with one home run and 24 RBI in 89 games, and in 2022, batting .215 (48-for-223) with one home run and 21 RBI in 102 games, but bounced back in 2023. In 91 games, he batted .283 (247 at-bats) with 70 doubles, three home runs, 29 RBIs, four stolen bases, and a .748 OPS, one of the best numbers among the team’s shortstops.
Doosan struggled to finish fifth in the regular season without Kim, as their top prospect Ahn Jae-seok went through some serious growing pains last year. His contributions were crucial to their postseason run.
Doosan hasn’t had much infield depth this season with the arrival of Ahn Jae-seok. Manager Lee Seung-yup has been eyeing Park Joon-young, but he has yet to play full-time in the first team. Kim Jae-ho was clearly an integral part of Doosan’s regular season plans for 카지노 2024.
Luckily, Kim Jae-ho was able to finalize his contract with the club before it was too late. Although he is known to be a very self-motivated and hardworking player, it would be difficult for him to get in shape for the start of the regular season in the middle of next month.
Kim Jae-ho will leave for Miyakojima, Japan, the spring training location of the Doosan Future Team, on May 12. Doosan’s second team, led by Future Team manager Lee Jung-hoon, left the country on May 5 and is currently undergoing intense training. Kim Jae-ho is also expected to improve his physical condition in time for the regular season opener in the middle of next month.
With Kim Jae-ho’s confirmation to join the Future Team spring camp, Doosan will fully prepare for the 2024 season. Manager Lee Seung-yeop, who is in charge of the Australian first team’s spring camp, will also be able to plan for the regular season with a lighter mind.
Doosan has had a strong start to the 2024 season. The team re-signed the one-two punch of Raul Alcantara-Brandon Waddell, one of the team’s pillars. The team also locked up all of its internal free agents. They even retained first baseman Yang Seok-hwan and pitcher Hong Gun-hee.
Doosan’s goals for the 2024 season are clear. The team wants to avoid a repeat of 2023, when it finished fifth in the regular season and ended the postseason in the wild card game. They are aiming for a higher stage in the fall.