KT, 107 billion on the ace, new finishing touches save pride: ‘Year 3 salary king’
KT saved Park Young-hyun’s pride.
KT Wiz has announced the results of its 2024 season salary negotiations. KT announced on the 31st, one day before the start of training camp, that it has finalized contracts with 64 of the 65 players who are eligible to renew their contracts for the 2024 season, excluding outfielder Song Min-seop.
The MVP of the salary negotiations was undoubtedly Park Young-hyun. As a high school sophomore last season, he became the youngest player ever to win a major league title. He was 20 years old. He won a whopping 32 holds. He was impressive not only in the regular season, but also in the playoffs and Korean Series. The most intense was at the Hangzhou Asian Games. He helped the team win the gold medal with a super-strong halberd that had never been seen before in the league and quickly became a national star.
KT lost their in-house finisher Kim Jae-yoon to the Samsung Lions as a free agent. A new finisher was needed. Coach Lee Kang-cheol will decide the position after the spring camp, but as of now, Park Young-hyun is the most likely candidate. It would be ideal for him to go.
A big payday would come naturally. Young-hyun stamped his name on 160 million won, a whopping 99 million won increase from 61 million won last year. A 162.3% increase. Both the highest salary and highest percentage increase titles went to Park.
In particular, he took the top spot in the third-year rookie salary race. Before Park’s 160 million won was announced, the highest-paid third-year player was Samsung shortstop Lee Jae-hyun. He signed for 140 million won, up from 60 million won this season. Below him, Moon Dong-joo (Hanwha), Kim Do-young, and Choi Ji-min (KIA) all signed for 100 million won.
Park Young-hyun also signed his second-year contract last year for 61 million won, one million won ahead of Lee Jae-hyun at 60 million won. This is the second year in a row that he has been crowned the third-year player salary king.
Son Dong-hyun, who emerged as a ‘Cinderella’ in the bullpen alongside Park Young-hyun, also became a billionaire after agreeing to a contract worth 120 million won, up from 50 million won to 70 million won. Moon Sang-rae, who filled the void left by starter Kang Baek-ho, enjoyed the thrill of his first billion-dollar salary by signing for 110 million won, up 96.4 percent from 56 million won. Kim Min-hyuk, who has grown into Lee’s trusted leadoff man, earned the biggest raise of the season, signing for 240 million won, up 90 million won.
Meanwhile, star Kang Baek-ho, who was expected to be cut due to injuries and poor performance, was frozen at 29 million won. This is to revitalize the signature players. Choi Min-joon, who underwent elbow surgery, received a 31.3 percent pay cut to 220 million won.
As for Song Min-seop, the only remaining unsigned player, negotiations will continue. KT, which recently made waves by signing ace Ko Young-pyo to a five-year, 10.7 billion won non-free agent contract, will accelerate its preparations for the new season with the smooth completion of salary negotiations.