“Above all, I wanted to stay with KIA.”
These were the first words of Kim Sun-bin (35) after signing a free agent contract with the KIA Tigers for a total of 3 billion won ($3 million) on March 4.
Kim joined the KIA in 2008 and played for the same team until last year. In his career, Kim batted 3 for 3 with 1506 hits, 564 RBIs, 691 runs scored, and a career OPS of 0.750. In 2017, he batted 3 for 7 with 176 hits in 137 games, contributing to KIA’s V11. His performance was typical of a one-club man. As the first free agent in 2020, he signed a four-year contract for a total of 4 billion won, and he did his job with a 3-for-8 record and an OPS of 0.757.
Last year, Kim played 119 games with a nagging ankle injury, batting .322 (134-for-473) with 48 RBIs and a .749 OPS. While batting in a variety of spots in the lineup, 바카라사이트 he maintained a decent on-base percentage of .381. This is why signing Kim was a top priority for KIA after last season.
Kim prepared for the offseason with the intention of keeping his spark alive in his hometown.
“My ankle is completely healed now,” he smiles when we meet in Canberra, Australia. “I can’t say I’m 100% because I haven’t been on the field for a long time,” he said, “but I don’t have any pain. However, there is no pain,” he said, adding, “If I can build up my body well during this camp, I think I can find my best condition at the start of the season.”
Kim is also playing the role of “atmosphere maker” at the camp. From the first day of training, he has been joking around with the coaching staff and joking with his fellow juniors to create a fun atmosphere. “The captain, (I) Sungbeom, is working the hardest. It’s probably not just me, but all the veterans,” he said, adding, “The atmosphere has improved faster than we were worried about before the camp started because the players were able to train in good weather.”
Second free agent signing. It’s a new responsibility for Kim, who is now in his mid-30s. Not only does he need to show the hitting prowess he showed in his first four years of free agency, but he also needs to be a solid second baseman. Now that he has found a way out of his nagging ankle injury, expectations are high for his progress during camp and his future performance.
The Kia infield seems to be stabilizing quickly with the retention of Kim Sun-bin
The return of shortstop Park Chan-ho, who recovered faster than expected, and the addition of Kim Do-young at third base. However, 메이저사이트 the team still needs to finalize the first base position and the backup infield. This is where the role of Kim Sun-bin, the center of the infield, comes into play.
“First of all, I need to stay injury-free, especially considering the injuries we had last year,” Kim shook his head. “I need to experiment and supplement what I prepared during the offseason in camp and find a contact point. If we follow the schedule well from the second camp (Okinawa) to the practice games and exhibition games, we will be well prepared for the season.”
Kim, who is in his 17th year of professional life, has risen to the top of the game through sweat and hard work, despite his humble beginnings as a ‘little giant’. It will be interesting to see if he will be the spearhead of Kia’s rise to prominence in 2024.