Veteran duo ostracized 4 years ago, time for second free agency approaches…will they lead team to big turnaround in 36G?

Two free agent duos who were treated coldly and poorly four years ago are gathered at Lotte. Jeon Jun-woo (38) and Ahn Chi-hong (33) were 스포츠토토 undervalued at the time of their first free agency four years ago, and eventually signed for a relatively small amount without competition. Now the time is approaching for them to qualify for their second free agency and be re-evaluated. 

Jeon Jun-woo and Ahn Chi-hong are veterans in their mid-to-late 30s, but they have established themselves as indispensable figures in Lotte’s batting lineup. Jun-woo Jeon is the most senior member of the team, and Chi-hong Ahn is leading the team as the team captain and a member of the leadership group.

Jeon Jun-woo is a franchise star who has been active in Lotte for 16 years. Dae-ho Lee retired and took over his senior position, but he is still showing off the highest level of production in the team. Both foreign hitters and young gunshots are below expectations, but Jeon Jun-woo remains the same. It is currently difficult to imagine a batting lineup without Jeon Jun-woo. He has a batting average of .208, 99 hits in 351 at-bats, 13 home runs, 54 RBIs, 56 runs scored, and 7 stolen bases with an OPS of .805. Home runs, RBIs, OPS are all first on the team. 

Ahn Chi-hong is also a pillar of the infield and is holding the center of the team with his quiet leadership. It is heavy both in the clubhouse and on the ground. He has a batting average of .209, 7 ERA (106 hits in 357 at-bats), 6 home runs, 53 RBIs, 47 runs, and an OPS of .778. Both home runs, RBI, and OPS are second on the team after Jeon Jun-woo. With a batting average of .306, he is also one of the leading problem solvers in the league. Among players who filled the required at-bats, he ranks second in scoring range (1st place: Ja-wook Koo of Samsung, .425).

Naturally, the two players are 1st and 2nd on the team in terms of win contribution compared to substitutes (WAR). Based on the stats, Ahn Chi-hong is 2.47 and Jeon Jun-woo is 1.81. Both with visible records and invisible appearances, the two players are currently irreplaceable in Lotte.

However, after the 2019 season, they obtained their first FA qualification and went to the market, but had to face the cold reality. In 2014, when he was selected for the Incheon Asian Games national team, he drank high school and enlisted as a motive for the police baseball team and became close friends. We had a lot in common, but even during our first FA, we spent time together.

As most of the clubs went into austerity, the market itself was not active and there was no competition. The conditions for them to receive a jackpot contract have not been formed. In the end, Jeon Jun-woo signed a contract with Lotte for 3.6 billion won for 4 years, and An Chi-hong left KIA and signed an unprecedented contract with Lotte for 2+2 years and 5.6 billion won. An Chi-hong chose to accompany Lotte for 4 years while choosing the option to extend the contract for 2 years during the 2021 season. 

In many ways, they signed a contract that was far from their name value at the time. After that, he was extremely proud and worked hard to prove his worth for four years. They are ranked in the top 20 in league WAR standings so far this year. Jeon Jun-woo recorded 12.91 for 4 years and ranked 15th, and Ahn Chi-hong ranked 20th overall with 11 and 17. It was confirmed that he is still a competitive hitter in the league. However, their contribution in defense is a factor that somewhat lowers their value. Jeon Jun-woo also plays as a left fielder this year, but he should be regarded as a designated hitter. An Chi-hong is also a second baseman, but the frequency of first baseman trips is increasing. A left fielder is more valuable than a designated hitter, and a second baseman is more valuable than a first baseman. 

From Lotte’s point of view, without them, the competitiveness of other ships will disappear. Above all, veteran players Jeon Jun-woo and Ahn Chi-hong should take the center stage at a time when coach Larry Sutton voluntarily resigned (actually hardened) for health reasons. And the team, which is currently in 7th place with a difference of 5 games from KIA in 5th place, needs to be further improved. In the remaining 36 games, if Jeon Jun-woo and Ahn Chi-hong raise the team together, their value can be evaluated higher. Lotte’s reversal and the value re-evaluation of Jeon Jun-woo and Ahn Chi-hong all depend on the remaining game performance

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