Lotte Giants left-hander Kang Ri-ho (before renaming Kang Yun-gu) acquired his first FA (free agent) qualification after the end of the 2022 season. It has been 13 years since he first stepped on the professional stage in 2009 with Kiwoom Heroes. 

However, Kang Ri-ho’s performance over the past three years was not outstanding, with an average ERA of 6.79 in 58⅓ innings with 1 win, 2 losses, and 6 holds in 81 games. In the 2022 season, there was no factor to actively recruit Lotte, as well as other clubs.

Because of this, Kang Ri-ho has not been able to find a nest until February 5th. It is bad news for Kang Ri-ho that as the spring camp of 10 clubs started on the 1st, the power plan for the 2023 season has entered the final stage. 

Kang Ri-ho seems to have been completely unaware that his recent performance and FA market situation would not be in his favor, but he seems to have expected that he was ‘FA C’.

Kang Ri-ho said on his SNS live broadcast on the evening of the 3rd, “All baseball players have dreams, and I was one of the players who dreamed of winning the FA jackpot. Then, there was no reward player and the salary was low, so I came out with the idea that if there is a team that needs me, let’s do it one more time.”

Kang Ri-ho is classified as Class C according to the KBO rules, where the FA class is determined according to the original club, the entire league salary, and age. When transferring to another club, only 150% of the previous year’s annual salary is compensated without a compensation player, so there is not much bleeding from other clubs that want Kang Ri-ho.

The FA rating system, which came into effect after the end of the 2020 season, was introduced for players who have difficulty exercising their FA rights, unlike national team players. However, although the compensation regulations have been greatly relaxed, it is not easy to obtain a good contract if the player’s current skills make it difficult to anticipate the future.

However, it is not easy for players to give up the exercise of their FA qualification rights that they have struggled to obtain. Even if your career is on the decline, you want to be valued by the market.

But clubs have a different view. In fact, after the end of the 2021 season, the head of team A said, “I don’t think it will be easy to transfer to other clubs just because they are FA C-class players.” There is no need to go outside recruitment. It will be rare for a C-class player to have an advantage over the club in a free agent contract.” 스포츠토토

In order to win the so-called ‘big deal’ among C-class players, you need to convince the market that you can maintain your current skills for at least two years during the FA qualification season.

Lee Tae-yang (SSG→Hanwha), who won a satisfactory contract among C-rank players in this Stove League, earned 2.5 billion won over 4 years, Won Jong-hyun (NC→Kiwoom) 2.5 billion won, and utility player Oh Tae-gon, who earned 1.8 billion won over 4 years, remained at SSG. LG veteran pitcher Kim Jin-seong retained 700 million won for 2 years, Oh Seon-jin (Samsung → Hanwha) retained 400 million won for 1+1 years, and Hanwha Jang Si-hwan 3 years and 930 million won retained. The reasons for betting by club were clear.

If Kang Ri-ho can’t find a team, the message he will be thrown into the free agent market is also clear. It’s not easy to give up your rights, but if you don’t face the reality, it’s not easy to continue your career on the professional stage. 

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