On July 29, a surprise news broke.
Kiwoom’s Choi Won-tae and LG’s Lee Ju-hyung + Kim Dong-kyu for the 2024 first-round pick.
LG, desperate for a championship, quenched their thirst for a homegrown starter with Choi Won-tae. LG coach Yeom Kyung-yeop was overjoyed and thanked the club.
Kiwoom acquired two top pitching prospects in the deal, with LG’s first-round pick going to Seoul High School right-handed fireballer Jeon Jun-pyo, and Kiwoom’s first-rounder Jang Chung-go right-handed complete game pitcher Kim Yoon-ha.
It was a win-win trade that made sense for both teams’ current positions.
But there was a catch.
Choi Won-tae, the centerpiece of the trade, has been in a slump.
Starting on August 25, he failed to complete five innings in three consecutive games and was sent down early.
He spent the last 11-12 days on the disabled list after the KIA game on the 10th to rebuild.
Moved to Kiwoom while Choi Won-tae faltered, Lee Ju-hyung continued to hit hard. In August, he hit .330 with four home runs. In September, he got even hotter, hitting .345 with two home runs.
The comparisons are starting to show.
It was beginning to look like LG was losing money on Won-tae Choi.
The Doosan-Keum game at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 22nd. Lee Ju-hyung hits a single to right field in the fifth inning.
Around that time, Kwanrok’s Choi Won-tae quieted the controversy.
On the 24th, he made his first appearance in two weeks against Hanwha, and in his comeback, he pitched seven innings of six-hit, one-strikeout, one-run ball to lead the team to a 5-1 victory and his ninth win of the season. He needs one more win to reach double-digit wins for the first time in four years.굿모닝토토
Choi Won-tae is not a pitcher to be trifled with. He led the Kiwoom Heroes to the Korean Series last year.
What matters is this fall. The question is whether he’ll be in top form for the postseason.
Even during his brief hiatus, he contributed to his new team LG with a catfish effect.
While Choi Won-tae was going through an adjustment period, fellow homegrown starters Lee Jung-yong and Lim Chan-gyu stepped up.
Lee went 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA in seven games after the trade of Choi Won-tae. Lim Chan-kyu is 6-1 with a 3.86 ERA in nine starts, including a career-high eight innings of relief.
Since the arrival of Choi Won-tae, the two homegrown starters have combined for 10 wins. The tension brought about by the transfer cannot be ignored.
LG starting pitcher Lee Jung-yong pitches during the game between NC and LG at Jamsil Baseball Stadium on April 22.
The second DH game of the 2023 KBO League between the LG Twins and SSG Landers was held at Jamsil Stadium on the 17th. LG’s Im Chan-kyu takes a breather.
LG’s homegrown starting lineup became stronger. It cannot be said that it is not the effect of the signing of Choi Won-tae.
Even Choi Won-tae returned after a period of adjustment.
In his absence, the native duo showed their best performance under pressure. With the return of Choi Won-tae, the homegrown troika is complete. Together with Kelly and Plutko, they are a surefire check for the LG Twins to win the regular season title.
The season isn’t over yet. It’s too early to call the trade a success. The first calculation of gains and losses. It should be right after the Korean Series.