Free agent pitcher Kang Ri-ho (formerly known as Kang Yun-gu) revealed the reason for the difficulty in negotiations with the Lotte Giants.
Kang Ri-ho’s agent, Lawyer Kim Hyeong-myeong of the YK Law Firm, said in an interview with ‘SportTV News’ on the 1st that Lotte had proposed a salary freeze plan, but the player had not responded, saying, “It is not true.”
Attorney Kim said, “It is true that Lotte proposed an annual salary freeze plan. However, we did not dwell on the amount and rather accepted the annual salary cut, so we asked for the suspension right to be released after a year. Lotte opposed it, and negotiations did not take place.” explained.
After finishing last season, Kang Ri-ho qualified for free agency for the first time in his life, and Lotte stopped his FA application. This winter, Lotte filled all three free agency recruitment limits by recruiting catcher Yoo Kang-nam, infielder Noh Jin-hyuk, and pitcher Han Hyun-hee. However, it is going through negotiations with Kang Ri-ho, the only free agent player in the team.
According to the player, Lotte offered Kang Ri-ho a one-year contract of 73 million won, the same as last year’s annual salary. Kang Ri-ho’s side demanded that Lotte release the retention right after the one-year contract was over, saying that he would accept 60 million won, which is a 13 million won cut. Lotte did not accept.
Attorney Kim pointed out the irrationality of not only Kang Ri-ho’s situation but also his KBO contract itself while representing Kang Ri-ho’s position. Attorney Kim criticized, “In the major leagues, if you sign a one-year free agent contract, you become a free agent player again after the one-year contract period ends. I don’t know why only Korea has this rule.”
According to KBO Rules, Chapter 17, Article 164, ‘Reacquisition of FA Qualification’, after a player has exercised his FA rights, he can reacquire FA qualification if he has been active in the regular season for 4 years from the date of registration as a member of the club. . Even if you signed a free agent contract for less than 4 years, your team has the right to hold it for 4 years.
Even after the one-year contract ends, Kang Ri-ho must remain with Lotte for three more years if Lotte does not release the suspension. Four years later, the FA re-acquisition system became ineffective as an option was created starting with An Chi-hong’s 2+2 year contract in 2020, and now the claim that it should be changed is gaining strength, but it is not being realized.
Attorney Kim raised his voice, assuming that it was the opinion of a legal professional, “I think that maintaining the right to hold for 4 years is an illegal regulation that goes against Article 40, No. 4 of the Monopoly Regulation Act, ‘Restrictions on Unreasonable Collaborative Acts’. This needs to be amended.” 안전놀이터
Attorney Kim said, “Article 164 of the KBO Rules constitutes an act of substantially restricting player contracts in a certain transaction field, the FA market, and an unfair joint act of restricting the counterparty of the transaction. Chapter 17, section 164, is contrary to the antitrust laws and should be null and void.” For Lotte, offering Kang Ri-ho a one-year contract already means that he has no intention of signing a longer contract with him, so releasing the hold after one year can be a ’cause’ to extend the player’s life. At what point can Lotte and Kang Ri-ho, who are looking at different places in the negotiations, reach an agreement?
Lotte signed a 3+1 year contract with Han Hyun-hee on the 17th of last month. It is a contract in which a player can become a free agent and find a new team if he meets certain conditions within three years and applies for opt-out. Kang Ri-ho’s side insisted that Han Hyun-hee, as an example, asked for the waiver of the right to reserve, but it was not accepted.