Oh Seung-hwan, who has become a free agent, made the remarks. Having played for the Samsung Lions for 13 seasons except for six years (2014-2019) in the Japanese and U.S. Major League Baseball (NPB) since joining the team in 2005, he declared that he would stay at Samsung even after securing his first free agent qualification in the KBO. Samsung also had strong will to catch Oh. Oh’s contract to stay at Samsung seemed to flow fast because both sides wanted to.
However, there was no sign of contract with Oh even after the year passed. In the meantime, Samsung recruited Kim Jae-yoon, an outside free agent, for a total of 5.8 billion won for four years, and held another free agent Lim Chang-min for a total of 800 million won for two years in the new year. Some also questioned if Oh might have caught two players just in preparation for his departure. However, whenever he does, Samsung said, “I keep talking positively with Oh.”
There was no word on Oh’s remaining until Kim Jae-yoon and Lim Chang-min were hired and Kim Dae-woo, an internal FA, was signed. Some raised doubts over his possible difference in price with Oh. As the unfounded estimate of the amount spread on the Internet, some speculated that Oh is greedy for money at a considerable age. Rumor has it that Oh suffered a lot due to this.
Leaving behind all kinds of rumors, Samsung and Oh Seung-hwan have joined hands. On Wednesday, Samsung signed a contract with Oh Seung-hwan, a free agent, to remain in the team. Oh signed a two-year contract worth a total of 2.2 billion won, including 1 billion won in down payment and 1.2 billion won in annual salary (400 million + 800 million won). He signed a multi-year contract worth two years for a lower amount than the usual amount.
After signing the contract, Samsung General Manager Lee Jong-yeol said in a telephone interview with this newspaper, “It was agreed from the beginning that Oh Seung-hwan will remain at Samsung. Oh suffered a lot when people around him said his contract would be delayed due to money, but he was considerate and supportive of his team. Thanks to the mutual concessions, we were able to sign a contract at a price that anyone could understand.”
One of the biggest reasons for the delayed contract was Samsung’s salary cap issue. Samsung had tight salary cap including two from outside FA and three from the second draft (Choi Sung-hoon, Yang Hyun and Jeon Byung-woo). Samsung, which was considering a multi-year contract with Oh, took time to calculate the amount of money needed to be adjusted by year. It has been reported that Samsung was delayed due to adjustment of details such as down payment and annual salary, rather than the “total cost issue” that had been rumored to be the issue.
“The deal was signed after a series of twists and turns. Samsung finished the final puzzle by remaining in Oh Seung-hwan. Lee Jong-yeol, who had pledged to strengthen the bullpen right after his inauguration, strengthened the back door by embracing Kim Jae-yoon (169 saves), Lim Chang-min (122 saves), and Oh Seung-hwan, the first player to save 400 in the KBO League. “It was achieved the way I first envisioned it. It is the best scenario,” Lee said, adding, “I gained momentum and confidence that it is worth a try in the new season. It is time for Oh and his players.”