On July 27, 2021, LG and Kiwoom agree on a one-on-one trade to exchange each other’s key players. LG acquired infielder Seo Geon-chang (34), 먹튀검증 and Kiwoom acquired right-hander Jeong Chan-heon (33).
Second base was always a problem for LG, which was challenging for the presidency, and after searching for a player in the market to fill the position, Seo Kun-chang was embraced. After the season, he was scheduled to acquire free agent (FA) qualification, but he chose to go all-in. Conversely, Kiwoom needed a veteran of the mound, and LG decided that it had relatively room for mound resources. That’s how the two veterans exchanged.
As a result, it wasn’t until a very big ‘jackpot’ trade. The two players’ tough FA qualifications indirectly suggest this. Seo Kun-chang postponed the FA qualification event twice and is looking forward to restoring his honor in 2023. Jeong Chan-heon came to the free agent market after the 2022 season, but is still uncontracted. If the jackpot hit, a new contract would have already been made, but it didn’t lead to that.
Compared to Seo Geon-chang, who is calmly gazing at the season, Jeong Chan-heon’s situation is a bit urgent. He did not become a free agent contract even before the start of the camp, and finding a new team is an urgent priority. Little by little, clues are being unraveled at the tightly packed negotiation table. Initially, it was the policy that Han Hyun-hee (Lotte) or Jeong Chan-heon or sign-and-trade was not considered, but Han Hyun-hee transferred and Jeong Chan-heon also pivoted to consider sign-and-trade prospectively.
Usually, the stumbling block in sign-and-trade is the player. There are many teams who want to receive the ‘player’ they want rather than money, and on the contrary, the giving side often misses the player. However, it is known that Kiwoom backed down saying that he would not insist on being a player. If so, there is a possibility that compensation will flow mainly in ‘cash’ rather than players or nomination rights.
Jeong Chan-heon’s annual salary last year was 280 million won, and the compensation grade was B grade. The B grade compensation regulations are 200% or 100% of the previous year’s annual salary and 25 protected players and one other. If Kiwoom gives up on the player, there is a possibility that 560 million won, which is equivalent to compensation, will eventually become the baseline. As the situation has come to this, it is expected that it will be difficult for the KBO to have a special objection to cash compensation.
If so, is it a business that remains for Kiwoom? The fact that he has not signed a contract so far means that Jeong Chan-heon is somewhat pushed back from the conception of the next season. If he was an indispensable player, he would have continued the negotiations one way or another. Receiving both the compensation and the players might have been the best scenario, but if the market is tight and you receive more than 560 million won in cash, you can say that the worst has been avoided.
Here, Jeong Chan-heon has memories of contributing to the team in his own way in the 2021 season. After moving to Kiwoom, he started all 11 games and pitched 56⅓ innings, going 3-3 with an earned run average of 3.99. It was necessary to manage his pitching interval, but he still helped support the rotation by appearing when Kiwoom’s starters were most in a hurry. Injury and sluggishness overlapped in 2022, but 5 wins were recorded. If the transfer is completed for a reasonable amount of cash, the overall trade record for Kiwoom could be more than breakeven.