FA Lloyd’ is a compound word of FA, an abbreviation for free agent, and steroid, and is used to describe players who show explosive skills just before becoming eligible for free agency. The fact that such expressions can be used also shows how much motivation the fact of obtaining free agency qualifications is for players.
Like every year, many good free agent players appear on the market this season. What is unusual is that there are a particularly large number of bullpen pitchers representing the league. Representative players include Kim Jae-yoon (KT), Ham Deok-ju (LG), and Hong Geon-hee (Doosan).안전놀이터
As expected of players about to enter free agency, they were performing at their best this season and were indispensable key pitchers for their teams. However, in the second half of the season, Hong Geon-hee completely changed. He continued to give up runs in close games and lost confidence on the mound.
In the end, Coach Lee Seung-yeop said on the 15th of last month, “Recently, there is a strong tendency to waver in close games. We decided based on the judgment that it would be better to have the ball be thrown in a position where there is no pressure,” and moved Hong Geon-hee, who recorded 22 saves this season, from closer to setup man, and Jeong Cheol-won. His position was changed from setup man to finisher.
However, once his confidence has been lost, it appears that he is unlikely to regain it. He has lost stability to the point that he has conceded goals in 4 of the 5 games he has recently pitched.
Last month, against NC on the 19th, he allowed 3 hits and 1 run in 2/3 innings, against Kiwoom on the 23rd, gave up 2 hits and 1 run in 1/3 inning, against SSG on the 27th, allowed 1 hit and 1 run in 1 inning, and gave up a count against LG on the 31st. He gave up 3 hits and 2 runs without catching anything. In particular, he allowed 3 home runs while recording 9 outs in the last 5 games. The fastball, which exceeded 150km at the beginning of the season, is currently hovering in the mid to late 140km. The tip of his ball is flat, and more and more balls end up in the middle.
During his time at KIA, Hong Geon-hee had a good pitch, but he was not a pitcher with a clear position. However, after wearing the Doosan uniform through a trade in 2020, his velocity, which had been in the mid-140 km/h range, exceeded 150 km/h in the second half, and he established himself as a finisher through the bullpen sure-to-win group. Last year, he pitched 62 innings and took charge of Doosan’s backdoor with 2 wins, 9 losses, 18 saves, and an ERA of 3.48. And this season, he was in charge of Doosan’s closing duties from the opening and was on a roll with 22 saves. If things continue like this, it was a career-high season and he could be aiming for a free agency hit.
But things have changed a lot in the past month. Hong Geon-hee was once known as one of the reserve free agent bullpen trio, but has now become ambiguous. During the most important season in his baseball life, and at the most important moment, he often bowed his head on the mound. He is Hong Geon-hee, for whom ‘FA Lloyd’ does not work.
Meanwhile, with the fall of Hong Kun-hee, Doosan’s trusted winning team collapsed. There is no reliever pitcher that can be trusted to pitch in a close game. As a result, there are many cases where the starting pitcher throws more than 100 pitches and makes as many innings as possible. Doosan’s bullpen is already overloaded. There was no way for them to win as their trusted winning team faltered and could not maintain their lead. In order for Doosan to regain 5th place and advance to fall baseball, the revival of Hong Geon-hee and Pil Seung-jo as soon as possible is urgent.