The Lotte Giants in South Korea's top baseball league on Monday named Kim Si-jin as their new manager.
Kim, a former manager with the Nexen Heroes in the Korea Baseball Organization, replaces Yang Seung-ho in the Giants’ dugout. Yang stepped down last week to take the fall for the Giants' failure to make the championship Korean Series during his two years in Busan.
The Giants said Kim signed a three-year deal worth 300 million won per season ($274,800), along with a 300 million won signing bonus. They said they highly valued Kim’s managing experience and his ability to nurture young players.
Kim, 54, was fired by the Heroes in September in the midst of the Seoul-based club's second-half swoon. After reaching first place in May, the Heroes ended the season in sixth place, two spots out of the playoffs, with 61 wins, 69 losses and three draws.
Kim had served as the pitching coach and later the manager for the Hyundai Unicorns, which folded after the 2007 season under financial problems and became the Woori Heroes, under the new ownership of local company Woori Tobacco.
After a season away from baseball, Kim returned to the Heroes’ dugout in 2009. The team, however, never reached the playoffs during his tenure, finishing sixth, seventh and eighth before 2012.
Kim was an All-Star right-handed starter during his playing career from 1983 to 1992, first pitching for the Samsung Lions and later the Lotte Giants. In 1987, he became the first KBO pitcher to reach 100 career wins. Slowed down by injuries in latter years, Kim ended his KBO career with 124-73 win-loss record with 16 saves and an earned run average of 3.12 in 1,577 innings.
With Kim as the pitching coach, the Unicorns won four KBO championships and led the league in team ERA in three different seasons. In 2000, three Unicorns starters tied for the KBO lead with 18 wins apiece. From 2002 to 2004, the Unicorns produced three Rookie of the Year-winning pitchers. (Yonhap News)