‘We traded three prospects…’ LG’s third trade gamble, and the fallout if it doesn’t work out

September 13, 2023 | by

For LG to win its first Korean Series title in 29 years, trade acquisition Choi Won-tae must rebound. If he continues to struggle after a recharge, the fallout could be devastating.

On July 29, LG acquired pitcher Choi Won-tae from Kiwoom in a trade that included promising outfielder Lee Ju-hyung, who completed his military service, rookie pitcher Kim Dong-gyu, and a first-round pick in the 2024 KBO draft.

It was a three-for-one trade that included a first-round pick to address a weak homegrown starting rotation. Expectations were high for the final piece of the championship puzzle 먹튀검증.

Choi made his first start in an LG uniform on July 30 against Doosan, pitching six innings of two-hit ball with five strikeouts and no walks to earn the win. It was a debut that lived up to expectations as a championship pitcher.

In his second game, on August 5, he suffered a loss against Samsung Electronics with six runs in five innings, and on August 12, he won against Kiwoom with two runs in five innings. On August 18, he pitched seven innings and four runs against SSG.

However, as the games went on, he became more and more up and down, and his pitching became worse. On August 25, he had his worst performance in the NC with 11 runs (9 earned) on 15 hits in 4 innings. On August 5 against KT, he was replaced after giving up two runs in three innings due to a rain delay. On August 10 against KIA, he gave up seven runs on eight hits in 2⅔ innings with five walks and three strikeouts. It was his lowest innings since joining LG.

As a result, Choi Won-tae was removed from the first team roster on the 11th. Manager Yeom Kyung-yeop cited fatigue as the reason for Choi’s recent struggles.

Yoon recently said, “Choi Won-tae pitched a lot of innings. He pitched a lot in the first half. He has already exceeded last year’s innings.” Choi pitched 105⅔ innings last year. This season, he pitched 135 innings in 24 games. He pitched 102⅓ innings in 17 games for Kiwoom.

The decision was made to give him time to rest and recharge his batteries. It would be nice to see him come back with 10 days of rest, or even longer, and regain the form he had in the first half.

Won-tae Choi was 6-4 with a 3.25 ERA before being traded. He ranked 10th in ERA and fourth among homegrown pitchers behind Ahn Woo-jin, Ko Young-pyo, and Won Tae-in. However, Choi Won-tae has struggled since the trade, going 2-2 with an 8.27 ERA in seven games (32⅔ innings).

LG made a two-for-two trade with Doosan for Ham Deok-ju, Chae Ji-seon-Yang Suk-hwan, and Nam Ho ahead of the 2021 season. Ham Deok-ju has been a stalwart in the bullpen this year after missing two years due to elbow injuries and nagging injuries.

During the 2021 All-Star break, LG made a one-for-one trade with Kiwoom for Seo Geon-chang and Jeong Chan-heon. After joining LG, Seo struggled for three consecutive seasons until this year.

The team went all-in on winning this season and traded Choi Won-tae in exchange for three prospects. Of the departed prospects, Lee Ju-hyung has been flying with a triple as soon as he was given the chance to play. Choi Won-tae must rebound.


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