Doosan Bears’ “genius shortstop” Kim Jae-ho failed to join the Futures Spring Camp due to an unpaid salary. First of all, the start of salary negotiations was too late at the latest. On top of that, it is expected that more time will be needed to coordinate with the proposal for a cut of nearly 50% of the team.
Doosan officially announced its departure from the Futures League on Feb. 2, saying, “The Futures League team will head to Miyakojima, Japan, through Incheon International Airport on Feb. 5. A total of 40 people will participate in the camp, including 10 coaching staff including coach Junghoon Lee and 30 players.”
The pitching group consists of 16 players including Kim Myung-shin and Jungwoo Kim Yoon Joon-ho. The catcher group consists of three players including Yoon Joon-ho. Six players including Jeon Min-jae and Yeo Dong-gun will participate in the event, while five outfielders including Yang Chan-yeol and Kim Tae-geun will start hardening in earnest.
Doosan Futures will hold its first training session on Feb. 6 at Miyakojima Irabu Stadium. The team will focus on technical and tactical training and weight training early in the camp, and play practice games with Nippon Steel and others from mid-afternoon. The team will return to Korea on March 5.
Pitcher Choi Seung-yong will undergo rehabilitation in Icheon for the time being due to fatigue fracture in his left elbow. The team will conduct a reexamination three weeks later and schedule training sessions.
The name of infielder Kim Jae-ho, who was originally scheduled to join the Futures Spring Camp, was not even seen. According to the club, Kim Jae-ho will continue negotiations later as an unpaid salary contractor.
Above all, the reason for the non-contract seems to be the delay in the start of the negotiations itself, as the club planned Kim Jae-ho as the last person to negotiate beyond mid-January. Doosan set the start of full-fledged salary negotiations with Kim Jae-ho, considering the internal FA negotiations situation of Hong Gun-hee. It was confirmed that the team held the second negotiations after the announcement of Hong Gun-hee’s contract while setting up a proper salary negotiation table with Kim Jae-ho for the first time in mid-January.
In general, considering the timing of negotiations on annual salary contracts that start from early December, it was not easy to reach a consensus quickly after only two negotiations have been held since mid-January. On top of that, the club also reportedly proposed to Kim Jae-ho a nearly 50 percent reduction in annual salary.
In general, annual salary negotiations, not FA contracts, are based on performances made in the previous season. Kim Jae-ho played 91 games in the 2023 season and recorded a batting average of 0.283/70 hits/ 29 RBIs/ on-base percentage of 0.376, recovering his position as the main shortstop at the end of the season. Kim Jae-ho also started to fine-tune based on his performance in the 2023 season, but failed to complete the deal before leaving the Futures Spring Camp.
Kim Jae-ho strongly expressed his willingness to extend his active duty for the 2024 season early on. It is said that the amount of money that can be adjusted rather than a big gap between the two sides. Doosan also announced that it would continue negotiations on annual salary after classifying Kim Jae-ho as an uncontracted player.
Kim joined the team in 2004 and has been wearing Doosan
s uniform for more than 20 years. He is a franchise star who deserves full treatment as he built a career that deserves credit for being considered the best shortstop in Doosans history and joined Doosan`s glory days in the 2010s. The last page of Doosan and Kim should also be closed with respect and respect to each other. Attention is focusing on whether Doosan and Kim will finalize their salary contract for the 2024 season through coordination of negotiations.