Fall baseball has begun for the 2023 KBO League. The Lotte Giants, who have failed to reach the postseason (PS) for six consecutive years, the longest streak among the 10 teams, are in the news for hiring a new manager.
This week, some media outlets reported that Lotte has appointed former Doosan Bears manager Kim Tae-hyung as its new manager. A senior Lotte official said, “Nothing has been decided yet. Giants CEO Lee Kang-hoon hasn’t met with Tae-hyung either.”
Speculation that Lotte would appoint Kim Tae-hyung came during the season. The “Kim Tae-hyung hire” rumor surfaced shortly after former Lotte manager Larry Sutton was effectively fired in late August after stepping down for health reasons.
Lotte does not deny that Kim Tae-hyung is a potential candidate for the job. “He is a very capable coach,” a club official admitted. However, the club said, “We haven’t met with senior officials yet, nor have we made a report to the group.”
The mere mention of Kim Tae-hyung as a candidate for the new manager is a sign of Lotte’s changing direction. With the exception of Yang Sang-moon, Lotte has hired novice managers in the past decade, including Lee Jong-woon, Cho Ji-woo, Heo Mun-ho, and Sutton. Most of them were “surprise hires.” They also share the common trait of not having strong player control.
Kim Tae-hyung has been a strong charismatic leader since his days at Doosan. He would never tolerate a player who was disruptive to the team.
Lotte hadn’t won a championship in more than 30 years after winning in 1992. In response, Lotte insiders said, “The team needs a change. A leader with strong leadership skills must come in.”
Kim Tae-hyung won the 2015 Korean Series (KS) in his first season at the helm of Doosan. He then led Doosan to the KS for seven consecutive years (2015-21), the longest streak in franchise history. He has a winning percentage of 0.571 (645 wins, 485 losses, 19 ties) in 1149 regular-season games.
Aside from Kim Tae-hyung, the other coaches on the shortlist are all well-established figures in the KBO. This shows that the atmosphere at Lotte is quite different from before.
In the end, the parent group is likely to make the final decision. The parent group’s influence has been growing, with Lotte receiving a 19 billion won capital increase from Lotte Holdings last year. Shin Dong-bin, chairman of Lotte Group, has been visiting the ballpark frequently this year, showing great interest. It remains to be seen if Kim Tae-hyung’s style will match the color scheme the parent group has been pursuing. 토토사이트
With so much noise around them, Lotte is expected to speed up the process of hiring a manager. “We plan to finalize the managerial contract in October, ahead of schedule,” said a club official. CEO Lee Kang-hoon said, “I think we need to hurry up.”