Even with the Korean Baseball Organization’s postseason underway, interest in Lotte is still high.
After finishing the 2023 regular season in seventh place and failing to make the postseason for the sixth consecutive year, Lotte quickly began the process of hiring a new manager and announced the appointment of Kim Tae-hyung on March 20.
After the inauguration ceremony on the 24th, Kim began his duties as Lotte’s head coach on the 25th with a team meeting at the Gimhae Sangdong Stadium, the team’s secondary stadium. Kim will lead the team in a finalization camp that will last until the end of November.
However, there are still issues that Lotte hasn’t resolved. In announcing Kim’s appointment, Lotte unusually stated that “the next head coach is in the process of being selected.”
Indeed, Lotte is in the process of hiring its next head coach. Former Lotte manager Yang Sang-moon has emerged as a leading candidate amid rumors of a number of possible candidates. A baseball insider familiar with Lotte’s situation confirmed that Yang has interviewed with the club.
Yang is no stranger to Lotte.
A native of Busan, a city with Lotte ties, Yang joined the team in 1985. After his retirement, Yang took the helm of Lotte from 2004 to 2005, where he tried to develop young players. Although the team finished eighth and fifth in the standings, he was credited with helping to develop key players such as Lee Dae-ho, Jang Won-jun, and Kang Min-ho.
During the 2014 season, he took over as LG’s head coach, a position he held for three and a half years, during which time he led the team to the Fall League twice. He gave a lot of opportunities to young players like Chae Eun-sung to develop. In 2019, he returned to Lotte to take the helm again.
He also has managerial experience. Yang was the manager of LG after the 2017 season, so he has experience building a team. 메이저사이트
Even after stepping down from his coaching position, Yang has continued to follow the game as a commentator, and recently took over as head coach of the women’s national baseball team, leading the team through a difficult environment.
While Lotte hasn’t made a final decision yet, the fact that they interviewed Yang gives us an idea of the direction the team is headed.
During the off-season, Lotte has been trying to respond to public sentiment. The appointment of Kim Tae-hyung, who led Doosan to seven consecutive Korean Series titles from 2015 to 2021, was no doubt influenced by fans who wanted Kim back.
The same goes for the appointment of a head coach. It wasn’t until Lotte appointed Sung Min-kyu for the first time in 2019 that the team sought to change or revolutionize itself. The previous manager emphasized “process” and tried to develop players, but as a result, the team’s weaknesses were not filled. This time around, the team seems to be emphasizing ‘experience’ as a criteria for selecting a head coach. The combination of a championship-winning coach and an experienced manager seems to be Lotte’s way of reducing trial and error and showing a clear commitment to performance.
Yang is not the only candidate in the running. Lotte is expected to make an official announcement after the Korean Series.