The ‘genius hitter’ was not discouraged by the annual salary cut.
Kang Baek-ho (24), the hitter representing KT Wiz, left for Arizona, USA via Incheon International Airport on the afternoon of the 31st.
It was a belated departure. In fact, the main team of the KT team completed their departure on the 29th. Head coach Lee Kang-cheol, the head coach, left for the United States on the 27th, two days earlier than the main team.
There was a reason why Kang Baek-ho’s departure was delayed. This is because the process of negotiating the salary with the KT club has been lengthy. As he could not easily sign his salary contract, his joining the spring camp had to be delayed.
Kang Baek-ho was called the future of Korean baseball and always received attention as a ‘genius hitter’.
In 2018, Kang Baek-ho, who wore a KT uniform as the 1st round 1st nomination. In his first year with the club, he won Rookie of the Year with a batting average 안전놀이터 of .290, 29 home runs and 84 RBIs. He marked a batting average of 300 for three consecutive years from the 2019 season to the 2021 season. He had a batting average of 0.337 in the 2019 season, 0.330 in the 2020 season, and 0.347 in the 2021 season.
However, the time of trial came to him for the first time last year. He played in 142 games in the 2021 season and only played 62 games in the 2022 season. His batting average also fell to 0.245. His home runs hit only six, and his slugging percentage (0.371) and on-base percentage (0.372) were also lower.
Injuries and the sluggishness that followed plagued him. Ahead of the season opener, on March 26 last year, he fractured the metatarsal bone of his right little toe. Kang Baek-ho himself, as well as KT, who was aiming for the championship for two consecutive seasons, were also a big bad factor. In the end, Kang Baek-ho got on the operating table. The weight of the KT line had to drop.
Following the rehabilitation process after the surgery, he made his comeback on June 4 against the KIA. However, he could hardly find his old sense of hitting. He played well, but suffered an injury called a hamstring tear against Doosan on July 1st. On 17 August, he returned to the first team stage, but the season had already reached a turning point. He finished the pennant race with a batting average of 0.224 in August, a batting average of 0.253 in September, and a batting average of 0.174 in October.
He contributed greatly to the team with good results in the past, and he is the team’s franchise star, but the salary contract was another issue. He was sympathetic to the cuts, of course. However, there was a disagreement with the club over the size of the cuts. After repeated labor pains, I was able to sign a contract with the club on the night of the 28th. He signed an annual salary of 290 million won, which is a cut of 260 million won from last year’s annual salary of 550 million won. The first salary cut of his life. The reduction rate is 47.3%. After that, due to problems with flight reservations, I was able to leave on the 31st without being able to leave with the headquarters on the 29th.
According to News 1, Kang Baek-ho met with reporters ahead of his departure and said, “I will show you that salary is not everything.” He said, “I don’t care much because I don’t think the salary is everything. Still, the club has given me a lot of consideration. I will show you this season that the salary does not divide the player’s ‘class’,” he said with a firm determination.