“You said you don’t want to overdo it… You’re busy, so you can’t just focus on that player, right?”
Disappointment was evident in the commander’s voice. The team calls for an all-out effort, but the player says, ‘I won’t overdo it.’ He is even a replacement foreign player who expelled an existing player and received an emergency blood transfusion.
This is the story of Lotte Giants Nico Goodrum. Goodrum has not played since the Changwon NC Dinos game on the 9th. Regarding the reason, acting Lotte coach Lee Jong-woon explained that it was because Goodrum ‘feel discomfort in his thighs.’
When he first came to Korea, he was envious and said, ‘How did they recruit Gu Drum?’ He is a major league infielder who played for the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, and Houston Astros. He is a multi-defender and switch hitter who can play all infield positions as well as corner outfield positions. He seemed like a model of ‘versatility’.
Lotte’s earnestness is revealed in the generous investment of $400,000 (approximately 530 million won), the highest amount at the time of his recruitment. This is a season in which they have already received paid-in capital increase from the parent company and spent up to 26 billion won on extension contracts with three free agents and non-FA agents last winter. The club’s CEO directly mentioned the goal of being in the ‘Top 3’, and the head coach declared, “I will go to the Korean Series.”
They also invested a huge amount of money in foreign players, including Jack Rex for $1.3 million, Charlie Barnes for $1.2 million, and Dan Straily for $1 million. After expelling Rex and Strayley and adding the $650,000 spent on Wilkerson and Goodrum, the total annual salary of foreigners is over 5.5 billion won. Among them, except for Barnes and Wilkerson, no player is worth the money.
Among them, Goodrum stands out even more because of his contrast with Wilkerson. This year, Lotte ranked first overall in April and maintained the top three until May. But the decline began in June.
Goodrum and Wilkerson came to Lotte together during the All-Star break right after the end of the first half, when the anxiety became a reality. While Wilkerson struggled with 4 wins and 2 losses in 9 games and an ERA of 2.14, Goodrum is full of disappointment.
His performance this season is only 0.681, appearing in 36 games, batting average of .263, and OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.681. In particular, his slugging power is so low that he doesn’t hit a single home run, and he doesn’t have any clutch ability. Along with John Gall and Brian O’Grady, he is at risk of being recorded as an outsider with zero home runs in the KBO.
In particular, he made as many as 11 mistakes as his footwork became sluggish due to repeated thigh pain. He played the most games this season as a third baseman (238 innings), but also played shortstop (43 innings), second base (8 innings), left fielder (6 innings)메이저놀이터, and right fielder (5 innings). But he is almost colorless and odorless. He didn’t show anything particularly special, even on defense. It is embarrassing to compare him to Dixon Machado, who had major league-level defense, passionate base-running play, teamwork, and even one long hit.
The results of his hospital examination show no problems. However, it is difficult to use him too much as long as the player himself is complaining of muscle pain. Acting manager Lee said, “Muscle pain gets better with rest. Rather than hiring a player hastily, I gave him time. It is better to give another player a chance rather than use a player who is said to be not good.” He added, “When I interviewed him, he said, ‘There is no other problem. (I have pain). “He said, ‘I don’t want to overdo it,’” he explained. He also expressed his agony, saying, “It is difficult to read the mind accurately because we do not understand the language.”
The first team entry has not yet been expunged. It is different from Pil Seung-joo and Koo Seung-min, who were canceled due to fatigue on the 16th. At this point, Goodrum’s cancellation from the first team effectively means that he will not be able to participate in the remaining games and will be immediately expelled.
Lotte, ranked 7th, is dreaming of a miracle. Even in the fall baseball competition where even the 6th place Doosan Bears are entangled, and in the battle for last place between the Hanwha Eagles, Samsung Lions, and Kiwoom Heroes, each is one step away from being alone.
With 23 regular season games remaining until the 16th, the gap between Lotte and 5th place SSG Landers is 6 games. It is not an easy car to turn over.