The Lotte Giants are a team where the unexpected never ceases to happen. This is the reality of Lotte.바카라
Lotte officially announced on the 28th that “Manager Larry Sutton resigned on the 27th due to health reasons after the game against KT, and the club decided to respect and accept the will of Manager Sutton after deliberation.” The news was even more shocking as the team had been denying reports of his resignation since the 27th.
Lotte has invested heavily in bolstering its lineup ahead of this season. After signing homegrown ace Park Se-woong to a five-year, $9 billion contract, Lotte invested heavily in reinforcing the infield centerline, which has been a weak spot for some time. Lotte first signed catcher Yoo Kang-nam to a four-year, 9 billion won contract, then added Noh Jin-hyuk for a four-year, 5 billion won deal. They then signed Han Hyun-hee, who can play both starting and bullpen roles, for 3+1 years totaling 4 billion won.
The reinforcements didn’t stop there. Lotte also signed “third-generation Korean-American” Ahn Kwon-soo, who finished his career with the Doosan Bears, as well as “veterans” Kim Sang-soo, Chau-chan (retired), Lee Jung-hoon, and Shin Jeong-rak, as they looked to reach the postseason for the first time in six years since 2017. It started well. Lotte went on a franchise-record winning streak and finished April in first place for the first time in 11 years since 2012.
Despite the success, Lotte wasn’t exactly celebrating. Last year, they also finished April in second place, but a steep decline in May saw them finish the regular season in eighth place. However, this year seemed to be a little different. Lotte stayed in contention for the top spot in May, winning more than 5 percent of their games. The problem was June.
Whereas in 2022, the fall started in May, in 2023, it was June. Once again, “injuries” to the mainstays of the team took their toll, especially when Ahn Kwon-soo, who had a tremendous April as a tablesetter, and Noh Jin-hyuk, who was acquired for a total of 5 billion won, started to go down with injuries. In addition, foreign players who performed remarkably well last year, such as Dan Streeley and Jack Rex, have not been able to escape the slump.
Lotte Giants backstroke coach Bae Young-soo./My Daily
Acting manager Lee Jong-woon of the Lotte Giants./Lotte Giants
In the midst of the team’s plummeting performance, it wasn’t enough for the team to pull together to overcome the crisis, and the situation of coach Bae Young-soo’s “resignation” came to the surface. At the time, a Lotte official drew a line in the sand, saying, “When we talk about baseball and have a difference of opinion, we may blush a little in the process of reconciliation, but it’s not a protest.”
However, not many people were convinced. Lotte made changes to its coaching staff after the allegations surfaced, demoting coach Bae Young-soo to the second team. In doing so, they gave acting head coach Lee Jong-woon, who had been coaching the second team, the role of head coach of the first team, a somewhat ironic move for a man who had previously been fired as head coach of the first team.
Lotte made the gamble of replacing two foreign players in an attempt to lift the somewhat sagging spirits around the All-Star break. However, this did not lead to a rebound. On the contrary, the team’s performance has been declining, and they are getting farther away from ‘fall baseball’. They are now a whopping five games out of fifth place, which is the minimum to qualify for the postseason. Instead, they are 4.5 games closer to 9th place.
Larry Sutton, former manager of the Lotte Giants./My Daily
Heo Mun-ho, former manager of the Lotte Giants./My Daily
In the midst of all this, another ‘bad news’ happened, this time the worst kind of bad news: the manager dropped the baton. Sutton was unable to manage the game on the 17th due to health reasons, and the same happened on the 27th. Sutton’s repeated absences sparked speculation that he had resigned, but Lotte officials emphasized that they would continue to work with him until the end of the season. However, this was not to be.
Sutton called team president Sung Min-kyu late at night after the 27th game and told him he could no longer lead the team. Multiple Lotte officials said, “It is true that he had symptoms of dizziness and body aches. He was feeling overwhelmed by the team’s poor performance and thought he would be a burden. She didn’t want to be a burden to the team,” explaining the reason behind Sutton’s voluntary resignation.
And here’s where we come to another somewhat puzzling decision. The team decided to pay Sutton’s remaining salary despite his voluntary resignation. This decision was made because Sutton has been with Lotte for a long time and has helped the team develop, including nurturing prospects. It’s the club’s decision, not anyone else’s. However, it is somewhat incomprehensible to pay the remaining salary to a former coach who made a decision that left the team in a tumultuous atmosphere at a time when the team was looking for a final ‘rebound’. On top of that, the team decided to give assistant coach Lee Jong-woon the job of acting head coach.
Lotte is the club with the most internal “noise” among the 10 clubs. In recent years, a number of foreign coaches have donned the Lotte jersey, but not all of them have ended well, and there have been stories of ‘feuds’ sparked by their departure, which was the main reason for the dismissal of former coach Heo Moon-ho. Sutton’s departure is also being viewed as more than just a health issue, but as a firing. These are some of the biggest reasons why the team hasn’t made the postseason in six years and hasn’t won a championship since 1992.