“He says he doesn’t want to push himself… I can’t just look at him when I have a long way to go.”
The disappointment in the coach’s voice is clear. The team is calling for a full effort, but the player says he won’t push himself. He’s even a substitute foreigner who was brought in as an emergency transfusion after an existing player was withdrawn.
This is the story of Niko Goodrum of the Lotte Giants. Goodrum hasn’t played since September 9 against the Changwon NC Dinos. Acting Lotte manager Lee Jong-woon explained that Goodrum is “feeling discomfort in his thigh.
When I first came to Korea, I was envied for how they were able to sign Goodrum. He is a former major league infielder who played for the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, and Houston Astros. He’s a multi-position defender and switch-hitter who can play all over the infield and even the corner outfield. He seemed like the epitome of “versatility.
Lotte’s eagerness is evident in its generous investment of $400,000 (about 530 million won), the highest amount at the time of signing. The team has already received a capital increase from its parent company and spent up to 26 billion won on extensions for three free agents and a non-free agent last winter. The team’s CEO has directly mentioned “top 3” as a goal, and the manager has vowed to “go to the Korean Series”.
They also spent heavily on foreign players, including $1.3 million on Jack Rex, $1.2 million on Charlie Barnes, and $1 million on Dan Straily. If you take out Rex and Striley and add in the $650,000 spent on Wilkerson and Goodrum, the total foreign salary is over $5.5 billion. Aside from Barnes and Wilkerson, none of them have been worth the money.
Among them, Goodrum stands out because of his contrast with Wilkerson. This year, Lotte was ranked No. 1 overall in April and remained in the top three until May. However, the fall began in June.
Goodrum and Wilkerson came to Lotte together during the All-Star break, right after the end of the first half, when the anxiety was real. Wilkerson has struggled to a 4-2 record with a 2.14 ERA in nine games, while Goodrum has been nothing but disappointing.
In 36 games this season, he’s batting just 2-for-6 with a .681 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). He doesn’t have much power, notably not a single home run, and he’s not exactly a clutch hitter. He’s in danger of joining the ranks of John Gall and Brian O’Grady as a 0-homer KBO player.
He committed a whopping 11 errors as his footwork was slowed by recurring thigh pain. He played the most games at third base this season (238), but also played shortstop (43), second base (8), left field (6), and right field (5). But he’s pretty much colorless. Even on defense, he didn’t do anything particularly special. It’s embarrassing to compare him to Dixon Machado, whose major league defense, enthusiasm for the game, teamwork, and one-hit wonder are all part of his game. 바카라
The results of the medical examination are clear. However, it is difficult to overuse the player as long as he complains of muscle pain. Lee said, “Muscle soreness gets better with rest. I gave him time rather than rushing him. It’s better to give another player a chance than to use a player who is not good,” he said, adding, “When I interviewed him, he said, ‘There is no other problem. I don’t want to push myself (with the pain),'” he explained. “It’s hard to read their minds because they don’t speak the language,” he said.
He hasn’t been removed from the first team yet. Unlike Pil Seung-min, who was suspended for accumulating fatigue on the 16th. At this point, Goodrum’s first-team ban effectively means he is suspended for the remainder of the season and immediately ejected.
Seventh-ranked Lotte is hoping for a miracle. The seventh-place Lotte is the lone outlier in a tangled fall baseball race that includes the sixth-place Doosan Bears, and one step away from the Hanwha Eagles-Samsung Lions-Keum Heroes battle for last place.
With 23 games left in the regular season, Lotte and the fifth-place SSG Landers are separated by six games, a gap that is not easy to overcome.