Ham Deok-joo, criticized for ‘underlying business’, becomes LG’s ‘trusted man’

LG trades for Yang Seok-hwan in 2021
Injured and out of form since joining the team… underperformed
Bounced back with a perfect 39G, 3W, 12H all year
Reassessing the ‘win-win’ in the third year of the trade

LG and Doosan, the “two families under one roof” that call Jamsil Stadium home, are known for their rivalry, and trades between the two teams are rare. However, just before the start of the 2021 season, the two teams made a trade. Doosan, thirsty for a right-handed bat, acquired first baseman Yang Seok-hwan and promising left-handed pitcher Nam Ho from LG, while LG sent left-hander Ham Deok-ju (pictured) for right-hander Chae Ji-seon. It was the first trade between LG and Doosan in 13 years since the Lee Sung-yeol-Choi Seung-hwan ↔ Lee Jae-young-Kim Yong swap in June 2008.

At the time, it was hailed as a “win-win trade,” but when the lid was lifted, there were stark winners and losers. Ham Deok-ju, who had suffered a severe drop in performance at Doosan, underwent surgery to repair bone chips in his elbow and was out for the season after appearing in only 16 games. On the other hand, Yang Seok-hwan, who hit just .246 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 2020 with LG, had a career-high season in a Doosan uniform, batting .273 with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs. It was a win-win for Doosan.

The 2022 season was a similar story. Unable to shake off the aftermath of his injury, Ham Deok-ju went just 12.2 innings in 13 starts with no wins or losses and no holds. Yang’s numbers fell off a bit, hitting .244 with 20 home runs and 51 RBIs, but he did his part by hitting over 20 home runs.

In the third year of the trade, the two teams are reevaluating the deal this season. Ham Deok-ju has fully recovered from his injury and has become one of the best bullpen arms in the game, with pitches beyond his former glory days as a Doosan closer. As of March 3, Ham has pitched 39 innings in 39 games this season with a 3-3 record and 12 saves. His ERA is a whopping 1.15 and his walks allowed per inning (WHIP) is just 0.77. The trade two years ago became a “win-win trade” this year.

The key is regaining control of his fastball. With his fastball touching the mid-90 mph range, Hamdeok-ju’s changeup has become even more potent. Typically, left-handed pitchers are weak against right-handed hitters, but with a changeup that flows outside the zone, Hamdeok-ju’s batting average against right-handed hitters is a whopping 0.061, or less than one percent. Because of this, Ham Deok-ju is able to get out of innings regardless of the type of batter he’s facing.카지노사이트

LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop also feels more comfortable with Ham Deok-ju’s presence on the mound. With a weak fourth and fifth starter, LG recently turned to bullpen man Lee Jung-yong as a starter, a move that was made possible by Ham Deok-ju’s solid backstop. After this season, Ham will be eligible for free agency for the first time in his career. With a salary of just $100 million and a compensation grade of C, the team that signs him won’t have to give up a compensatory player. This is likely to increase his value even more.

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