The free agent (FA) market is almost closed, but the second FA market is hot.

The multi-year contracts of prospective free agents started last year with SSG’s Hanyu Island, Park Jong-hoon, and Moon Seung-won contracts, followed by Samsung Koo Ja-wook, Lotte Park Se-woong, and NC Koo Chang-mo this year. Riding on the pandemic, the size of the contract has grown to a level that surpasses the free agency invitation.

LG is the next runner. LG is ‘all-in’ in negotiating a multi-year contract for shortstop Oh Ji-hwan (32, LG), who will become a free agent again after next season.

It has already been in parallel with the FA negotiations. I had two meetings with Oh Ji-hwan’s agent. The specific terms of the contract have not yet been exchanged. It is going through a tense search war that goes beyond FA negotiations.

Preliminary free agency multi-year contracts are probably more risky than free agency contracts. However, due to courageous investments by some clubs, such as NC signing a 6+1 year contract for pitcher Chang-mo Koo, who has never filled a single inning, multi-year contracts for big players have become a trend.

Among the players who will become free agents after next season at LG, Oh Ji-hwan is the ‘great fish’. Oh Ji-hwan, who is also the team’s captain, is now almost the only remaining franchise star in the LG lineup. There are many players on the mound who debuted and grew up at LG, mainly young pitchers, but among the current fielders, Oh Ji-hwan is considered the only direct franchise star to succeed Park Yong-taek. There were twists and turns in his growth process, but anyway, he won the Golden Glove and is currently the best shortstop in the league. In LG, he is a must-have player in terms of power and atmosphere.

Until now, LG has not been loyal to internal free agents. Except for Park Yong-taek, there were no special free agents, but looking back on the history of free agency contracts, the scale of investment in external free agents was overwhelmingly large, unlike the throes of internal free agency negotiations.

The positive function of a non-FA multi-year contract is to express the club’s will to ‘protect our players’. In this free agent market, LG sent away several franchise stars, including catcher Yoo Kang-nam, outfielder Chae Eun-seong, and second-team free agent Lee Hyeong-jong. Only Oh Ji-hwan has the determination to protect. 스포츠토토

Cha Myung-seok, general manager of LG, said, “As a club, there is actually a burden of multi-year contracts. However, by missing the internal free agents this time, our players may have given the impression that they were being neglected. Once the players feel that way, they can’t go back, but I think we need to make it clear that our team is not like that and recreate the atmosphere. In that regard, Oh Ji-hwan is going to sign a multi-year contract first,” he emphasized.

The key to non-FA multi-year contracts is the contract period. Athletes want to be guaranteed the longest period possible. If the annual guarantee amount is the key, the size of the contract will inevitably increase. All non-FA multi-year contracts released so far have been for at least five years. Although he is in his mid-30s, Oh Ji-hwan, who is considered the best shortstop in the league, is likely to end his playing career at LG if he signs a multi-year contract. The contract period is much longer, so a super-large contract that easily exceeds 10 billion won may come out.

If you want to sign a multi-year contract, you have to calculate and adjust the salary cap for each year. The reason why LG’s negotiations with Oh Ji-hwan is not easier is that the fact of pursuing a multi-year contract is already known to the outside world. Contrary to other clubs quietly promoting and suddenly announcing, LG has already disclosed the fact that Oh Ji-hwan is promoting a multi-year contract. Just like the FA negotiations, everyone is watching.

LG plans to hold a third negotiation with Oh Ji-hwan’s agent on the 20th. The outline of the contract is also expected to begin to emerge.