17 billion won. This is the amount of support Lotte coach Larry Sutton received from Stove League ahead of the 2023 season.
Three people joined only through an external free agent (FA) contract. Catcher Yoo Kang-nam wore a Lotte uniform with a total of 8 billion won over 4 years, infielder Roh Jin-hyuk with a total of 5 billion won over 4 years, and pitcher Han Hyun-hee for 4 billion won over 3+1 years.
As coach Sutton, he has an opportunity to show his leadership in earnest in the new season.
Coach Sutton, who joined Lotte as the Futures League coach in October 2019, took the helm of the first team in place of coach Heo Moon-hoe, who withdrew from the team in May 2021.
It was a rough start. At the time, Lotte was at the bottom of the 10 clubs.
Lotte, who finished 8th out of 10 clubs in the first half with a win rate of 0.429 with 33 wins, 1 draw and 44 losses, in the second half with 32 wins, 7 draws and 26 losses with an odds rate of 0.542, ranked third in the same period, but failed to advance to fall baseball with 8th place in the regular season. .
The 2022 season was a year in which coach Sutton completely wrapped up the season. However, there was no reinforcement of his power. He rather had only leaks. Son Ah-seop left the team due to an FA contract, and Lotte ended the Stove League passively without recruiting outsiders.
Lotte caused a sensation at the beginning of the season. During the month of April, he finished second with a win rate of 0.609 with 14 wins, 1 draw and 9 losses.
However, due to an injury, he showed the limitations of a shallow player base and finished the first half in 6th place. As the injured players returned in the second half, they threw the number of wins again, but shouted, “The goal is to advance to the postseason,” but ended the season in 8th place.
Now, manager Sutton faces the new season with the club’s strong support. Not only outside free agents, but also many released players were recruited. There are seven players who have been released by Lotte. The departure of Lee Dae-ho, the team’s main hitter, was a loss, but he invested enough to make up for it. 안전놀이터
In December 2021, Lotte extended the contract with Sutton until the 2023 season. As manager Sutton, he has to show results in the final year of his tenure.
Out of 10 teams in the KBO League, only two teams, Lotte and Hanwha, were led by foreign coaches.
Recently, the position of foreign coaches in the KBO League is narrowing. Coach Jerry Royster, who led Lotte in 2008-2010, and coach Trey Hillman, who directed SK (currently SSG) in the 2017-2018 season, set good precedents, but after that, foreign coaches have not been able to achieve significant results.
Coach Sutton also expects this season to be a test. The key is to advance to fall baseball. Lotte has not been on the fall baseball stage for five consecutive years since advancing to the semi-playoffs in 2017. This is the reason why Sutton, who received investment, has a heavier burden on his shoulders.