The head coach resigned mid-season. Filling empty positions is a natural procedure.
But everything has an order. This is the problem facing the Lotte Giants, who have finished the 2023 season.
Former coach Larry Sutton resigned at the end of August. Almost two months have already passed. The regular season ended under the acting head coach Lee Jong-un.
The manager leads the baseball team, but the main body that creates it is the front office, including the general manager. However, Lotte Club is delaying a proper response to general manager Seong Min-gyu’s ‘crisis theory’.
Director Seong, who took office in September 2019, created the buzzword ‘process’. The team last won the Korean Series in 1992, and has never made it to the Korean Series in the 21st century. External recruitment and the birth of the first player-turned-general manager. It was an undeniable new wind.
Right or wrong, Director Seong’s actions over the past four years were different from Lotte’s past. In signing free agent contracts, he emphasized firmness and quick decisions without being dragged around by players rather than appealing to emotions, and was active in trades with other clubs.
In this process, emphasis was placed on collecting and nurturing promising talent. The draft also focused on talents known as ‘tool guys.’ American-style training methods and equipment, including ‘Pitching Lab’ and ‘Driveline Training’, were introduced one after another.
This year, we were looking forward to the growth of the promising talent we had collected over the past three years. In addition, they dreamed of a ‘win now’ by adding the experience of veterans through the recruitment of three free agents (Yoo Kang-nam, Noh Jin-hyuk, Han Hyun-hee) worth 17 billion won. The team’s leadership set a goal of at least advancing to the playoffs, and the entire team was so confident that the head coach even announced the Korean Series.
However, fall baseball failed again this year. Due to internal conflicts in the coaching staff, the first and second team coaches were reorganized during the season, and the head coach eventually left the team. When General Manager Seong took office, he said he could build a team that could challenge for the championship within three years, but he was faced with the reality of not being able to play a single fall baseball game in four years.
Lotte and Director Seong’s contract period runs until 2024. However, the entire team is in confusion as Manager Seong’s theory of crisis is widespread not only within the club but also throughout the baseball world. It is a situation where decisions are put off and only look ‘upwards’.
It is true that appointing a new manager requires a decision from the club’s leadership and, by extension, the higher-ups of the parent company.
However, before that, Lotte Club needs to show a clear position on General Manager Seong’s future. The general manager is the head of the front office and a baseball expert who oversees all aspects of team management, from the draft of new players to foreign players.
Whether it is retention or no confidence, the normal ‘process’ is for the general manager, who inherited the team’s management, to evaluate the team over the past four years, select new manager candidates and request approval for them.
Lotte is expected to avoid ‘beginner managers’. In addition to former coach Kim Tae-hyung, who has been seriously considered, the other coaches being considered are also experienced people with championship experience.
Even so, the era where the director holds full authority like in the old days is over. 스포츠토토The new manager must be someone who can fulfill the fans’ desire to win the fall baseball season and the Korean Series. To do so, it is important to work with the general manager who represents the will of the club.