LG Twins Oh Ji-hwan (33) follows the path of senior Park Yong-taek, who was a franchise star.
LG is promoting a multi-year contract with Oh Ji-hwan, who is about to reacquire a free agent, and if a long-term contract of 5-6 years is concluded, Oh Ji-hwan is expected to become a lifetime LG man like Park Yong-taek. It is similar to signing a great contract in the second free agency than in the first free agency.
Park Yong-taek, who works as a commentator, obtained FA status ahead of the 2011 season and signed a 3+1 year contract for up to 3.4 billion won (including 300 million won per year with options). He wasn’t fully guaranteed for 4 years, and he had a lot of options.
Four years later, when he signed his second free agency prior to the 2015 season, Park Yong-taek relieved his regrets during his first free agency. Even though he was in his mid-30s, his value was recognized with a better contract of 5 billion won for 4 years. Later, in the 2019 season, he even signed his third free agent contract with LG for 2 years and 2.5 billion won 안전놀이터 (including an option of 100 million won), and retired as a franchise star of LG and was permanently absent.
Around the time of his retirement, Park Yong-taek mentioned that at the time of his first free agent contract, other clubs offered a total of 2 billion won more, but he remained with affection for LG. As a result, he was able to retire as an LG One Clubman, and even became a permanent member.
Oh Ji-hwan is also likely to sign a great contract ahead of his second free agent contract, which is in his mid-30s ahead of his first free agent contract.
Oh Ji-hwan obtained FA status after the 2019 season and signed a contract with LG for 4 years and 4 billion won. There were ups and downs. At the beginning of the negotiations, Oh Ji-hwan’s demand for ’10 billion won in 6 years’ was rumored, and public opinion was unfavorable to the player’s side. It was an opinion that the ransom was too high. Afterwards, Oh Ji-hwan virtually gave the club a ‘blank commission’ and signed a contract for 4 years and 4 billion won, which is LG’s proposal.
After his free agent contract, Oh Ji-hwan performed outstandingly for three seasons until last year. In 2020, the first year of his contract, he recorded a batting average of 300 for the first time since his debut. Last year, he was very active with a batting average of 2.6 9, 25 homers, 20 stolen bases, 87 RBIs and an OPS of .827 in 142 games. He became the first shortstop to use Jamsil Stadium as his home and achieved ’20 home runs -20 stolen bases’. He won the Shortstop Golden Glove and was recognized as the best shortstop in the league.
Oh Ji-hwan will become a free agent again after the 2023 season. LG plans to secure Oh Ji-hwan as the best shortstop in the league by signing a multi-year contract before becoming a free agent. Oh Ji-hwan showed a dramatic improvement in his slugging power last year by hitting 25 homers, the most for an individual. He is 33 years old this year and will maintain his top-level skills for the time being.
If it is a multi-year contract of 4 years or more, if you look at the recent FA market value, you can predict up to 10 billion contracts. If it is a long-term contract of 5-6 years, Oh Ji-hwan will be signed until the age of 38-39. It is a calculation that he will play until his retirement at LG. Like Park Yong-taek, he is expected to receive a larger amount from the second free agency and follow the path of remaining as an LG franchise star.
On the other hand, when asked when the multi-year contract with Oh Ji-hwan will be concluded, LG general manager Cha Myung-seok said, “It will be soon.”