Even though the professional baseball postseason is in progress, interest in Lotte is still hot.
Lotte, which finished the 2023 regular season in 7th place and failed to advance to the postseason for 6 consecutive years, hastily began the process of selecting a new coach. And on the 20th, the appointment of director Kim Tae-hyung was announced.
After holding the inauguration ceremony on the 24th, coach Kim Tae-hyung began his career as Lotte coach in earnest with a meeting with the players at Gimhae Sangdong Stadium, the second-tier stadium, on the 25th. Coach Kim will lead the players in the final camp that runs until the end of November.
However, there are still challenges that Lotte has not been able to solve. When Lotte announced the appointment of Coach Kim, it unusually said, “The next general manager is in the process of being appointed.”
In fact, Lotte is moving to appoint the next general manager. While rumors abounded about various candidates, former Lotte coach Yang Sang-moon emerged as a leading candidate. A baseball official familiar with Lotte’s situation announced that former manager Yang had an interview with the club.
Former coach Yang is a person who knows Lotte well.
Former coach Yang, who is from Busan, the hometown of Lotte, joined Lotte in 1985. And after his retirement, he took the baton of Lotte from 2004 to 2005 and sought to develop young players. Although he was ranked 8th and 5th at the time and did not advance to fall baseball, he was evaluated as helping the growth of key players such as Lee Dae-ho, Jang Won-jun, and Kang Min-ho.
During the 2014 season, he took over as head coach of LG and led the team for three and a half years, leading the team to fall baseball twice during this period. He encouraged the growth of young players such as Chae Eun-seong by giving them many opportunities. In 2019, he returned to Lotte and took the baton.
He also has general manager experience. Coach Yang, who served as LG’s general manager after the 2017 season, also had experience building a team.
Even after stepping down from his position as leader, he continues to watch the field as a commentator and recently took over as the head coach of the women’s baseball team, leading the team even in difficult circumstances.
Although Lotte has not yet made a final decision, the interview with former coach Yang alone shows the direction the team should take.
During the off-season, Lotte is making efforts to respond to public sentiment. The appointment of coach Kim Tae-hyung, who led Doosan’s Korean Series for seven consecutive years from 2015 to 2021, also had a significant impact on the voices of fans who wanted coach Kim.
The same goes for the appointment of a general manager. Until Lotte appointed general manager Seong Min-gyu for the first time in 2019, the team itself attempted changes and innovations. Former general manager Seong tried to develop players by emphasizing ‘process’, but as a result, he was unable to make up for the weaknesses in the team’s strength. This time, it appears that ‘experience’ is being touted as a criterion for selecting a general manager. Lotte appears to be reducing trial and error and demonstrating a clear commitment to performance through the combination of a coach who led the team to victory and a general manager with abundant experience.
In addition to former coach Yang, other candidates are also being considered. It is reported that Lotte will make an official announcement after the Korean Series ends.먹튀검증