Professional baseball Lotte Giants said goodbye last year. Lee Dae-ho (41), who is the symbol of the club, has finished his active career. After his debut in 2001, Lee Dae-ho, who always played in a Lotte uniform except for the period of overseas expansion (2012-2016), left Sajik Stadium with hot tears.
Parting with Lee Dae-ho was also a farewell for a generation. Now is the time to face a new era. At the center is Han Dong-hee (24), who is also called ‘post Lee Dae-ho’.
Han Dong-hee, who is directly subordinate to Lee Dae-ho at Gyeongnam High School, has been followed by the modifier Lee Dae-ho’s successor since childhood. Although he is smaller than Lee Dae-ho, his natural punching power made him famous as a long hitter since high school. After joining Lotte in 2018, the relationship with the seniors became even stronger. Lee Dae-ho passed on his know-how to his distant junior whenever he had a chance, and Han Dong-hee accepted it with his whole body and grew up.
In fact, Han Dong-hee has steadily improved her skills since entering her professional career. He played as a backup until 2019, but earned a spot on the first team in 2020 by hitting 17 home runs in 135 games. Following this, he was responsible for the center batting line while playing as the main third baseman until last year.
Han Dong-hee, who grew up under Lee Dae-ho’s wide shadow, now begins to stand alone with him. Although his role model has left, he is determined to lead Lotte’s emergency with his own weapon that he has sharpened and polished.
Han Dong-hee’s attitude is well felt in the recently concluded salary negotiations. This year, Han Dong-hee signed a 192.6 million won contract with a 12% increase in her annual salary. Considering the 30% batting average and double-digit home runs recorded last year, the increase is relatively low. A secret was hidden here. That’s the ‘Performance Option’.
An official from Lotte said, “I suggested performance options to some players to motivate this season. The guaranteed amount is a little small, but if you record a certain level of performance, you will receive a performance bonus in the unit of tens of millions of won.” he explained.
In fact, options contracts are not a new concept. It has already been introduced by Samsung Lions and Hanwha Eagles. However, an option contract is also an offer that is difficult for players to readily accept in that the guaranteed amount is reduced. In that respect, Han Dong-hee’s choice draws attention.
Han Dong-hee said, “It was an option contract that was not common in Lotte, but he did not worry much. Because he was confident. He decided that option contracts motivate me too,” he explained the background. He continued, “I think that Lotte grades can come out well only if I do well. I will definitely achieve all options, even for the sake of the team.”
To achieve his goal, Han Dong-hee flew to Lotte’s spring camp site, Guam, an American territory, and began to build up his body. Although he does not have Lee Dae-ho, who was always with him, he sweated with his best friend Jung-hun (36). 스포츠토토
Han Dong-hee said, “It is an early training that I have been doing like a routine with senior Lee Dae-ho for several years. But for the last two years, I haven’t been able to do it in the aftermath of Corona 19,” he said. Still, I made my body properly in a warm place with Jung Hoon sunbaenim. It can be said that the best condition was almost created,” he laughed.
Han Dong-hee swung a batting average of 0.427 and 7 homers in 24 games last April and was selected as the KBO Monthly MVP. In addition, Lotte also finished the April race in second place, but the upward trend did not last long. Due to a side injury, I couldn’t find my condition until June. At the same time, Lotte also lost strength little by little, and eventually finished the pennant race in 8th place.
The first time he realized the importance of injury after his pro debut. In particular, Han Dong-hee acutely felt how badly his vacancy was affecting him.
Lotte has not been able to step on the fall baseball stage since 2017. This is why the goal of Han Dong-hee, who made his 2018 debut, is still to advance to the postseason. Han Dong-hee said, “I felt a lot from last year’s injury. He is preparing to play every game this season. He also expressed his strong determination, saying, “I will play so that Lotte can go up to fall baseball.”