SSG emphasized that it would not artificially do about generational change, which it has declared as its biggest task.
SSG announced on the 15th that it has appointed Kim Jae-hyun, a former LG Twins power-enhancing coordinator, as its new general manager.
For Kim Jae-hyun, the new general manager, he will return to Incheon for the first time in 13 years.
Kim, who started his professional career by joining the LG Twins in 1994, has emerged as a star player by leading LG’s “New Wind Baseball.”
After the 2004 season, general manager Kim, who became a free agent and moved to the SK Wyverns, the predecessor of SSG, played a key hitter during the SK dynasty.
Kim, who won the Golden Glove as designated hitter in 2005, the first year after his transfer to SK, led his team as captain the following year, and won the Korean Series title in 2007, holding the MVP in his arms. He also contributed greatly to SK’s victory in the Korean Series in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Kim, who retired at the end of the 2010 season, returned to Incheon as the head of the front office.
“SSG has a lot of good memories,” Kim told Newsis in a telephone interview after the team’s announcement. “I have good memories of winning the championship three times and being named MVP of the Korean Series. I still have my favorite juniors. I’m looking forward to it. On the other hand, it’s true that I feel pressured.”
It is because of the SSG`s situation that he feels pressured. Kim took the heavy responsibility during the tough times.
SSG never missed the No. 1 spot from the beginning to the end of last year’s season and won the title of “Wire to Wire.” It also dominated the Korean Series and enjoyed the joy of winning the title for the first time since its foundation.
This year, he also succeeded in advancing to the fall baseball league for the second consecutive year by finishing the regular season in third place.
However, the team was hit by a storm after the season. It faced a setback when it tried to change the team in a hurry.
After the 2022 season, he replaced former coach Kim Won-hyung, who had renewed his contract for three years, in a year, and replaced the existing coaching staff in large numbers. In the process of appointing the next coach, candidates were also exposed, causing noise.
In addition, Kim Kang-min, who had been a star player of SSG for 23 years in the second draft, was not included in the 35-member protection list, and had to be sent to Hanwha Eagles. SSG fans were greatly disappointed by Kim’s transfer.
As noise and controversy continued, SSG changed its position to head of the R&D center by holding former general manager Kim Sung-yong responsible. Since then, former general manager Kim Sung-yong has expressed his gratitude and left the team.
“There was definitely a bit of a disappointment, and it is true that there is a lot of pressure to take the general manager position in such a situation,” Kim said. “We need to continue researching to change the minds of disappointed fans. I think the fans who changed their minds will also come back if we approach them with sincerity. I’m aware of my mistakes, so I’ll approach them with sincerity.”
There is also a chaotic atmosphere within the club. “I have seen it from the outside, but it is necessary to accurately grasp the internal situation. I will try to figure out the work first,” Kim said, adding, “I will look into it myself and move.”
SSG’s biggest task is generational change. SSG’s cause when it replaced former coach Kim Won-hyung was generational change.
“When generational change occurs artificially, problems always arise. We need to make it so that generational change occurs naturally,” Kim said, stressing the importance of fostering younger players. “Then, even veteran players will not be complacent. With this structure, the team will become stronger. We need to find ways to lead the growth of younger players.”
SSG highly appreciated Kim’s experience through various positions since his retirement. In addition, he explained the background of his appointment, saying, “I was impressed by his cool-headed diagnosis of the team’s situation and his vision for the future direction the club should move forward in preparation for the Qing Dynasty.”
Since his retirement, Kim has served as a hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Yomiuri Giants, and the Hanwha Eagles, and also served as a hitting coach for the national team. He also served as a commentator, a technical committee member of the Korea Baseball Organization, and a coordinator for LG’s power enhancement.
“I think my experience will be of great help. I studied a lot about physical development while working as a power-enhancing coordinator at LG,” Kim said. “I will think about how to incorporate it in the SSG. I will strive to nurture young players and strengthen the team.”