The ‘contract’ on May 20, 2021 that no one paid attention to

It was May 20, 2021. NC Dinos signed a contract with uncontracted free agent (FA) Lee Yong-chan (34) for 3+1 years, up to 2.7 billion won. Lee Yong-chan is a veteran who can both start and bullpen, but his market value was at the bottom at the time. After Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament surgery) in June 2020, there was no record of official appearances, so there were not a few evaluations of NC’s investment as “reckless”.

Lee Yong-chan underwent surgery to remove bone fragments in 2007 and 2013. He put a knife on his right elbow several times, but Tommy John surgery was literally a life-threatening decision. A pitcher in his 30s with a history of surgery. Neither club willingly reached out. When he couldn’t decide on his course of action until the start of the 2021 season, the tag ‘FA lost’ was attached to his name. The club that paid attention to Lee Yong-chan, who trained personally at his alma mater Jangchung High School, was NC. NC general manager Kim Jong-moon said, “Lee Yong-chan is a pitcher with stable control and management ability to solve the game, and we expect him to add strength to our team’s mound.”먹튀검증

NC’s investment is ‘successful’. Lee Yong-chan has been in charge of the back door of the ‘Dinosaur Corps’ since August 2021. In the first season of his contract, he had 16 saves and a 2.19 earned run average in 39 games. In the winter of that year, NC released veterans Lim Chang-min (Kiwoom Heroes), Kim Jin-seong (LG Twins) and Park Jin-woo (retired) and started a new bullpen. As young pitchers, including Ryu Jin-wook, Kim Jin-ho, and Kim Si-hoon, were put into the bullpen en masse, the generational change took place quickly. Lee Yong-chan, whose shoulders became heavy, appeared in 59 games last year, recording 22 saves and an average ERA of 2.08. The same goes for this season. 

In his first four appearances of the season, he pitched four scoreless innings and earned two saves. Won Jong-hyeon (Kiwoom) moved to free agency as an offseason sidearm, and the average age of the bullpen has become younger, but it is still Yong-chan Lee who takes center stage. The surgery that pushed the player’s life to the brink is having a positive effect. He said, “I can throw the ball with confidence because my elbow doesn’t hurt. During the Doosan Bears, I spent the season worrying about when (pain) would occur. After solving this part, I had no fear when throwing the ball. Just like when I was a kid, I pitched confidently. do,” he says. Watching baseball outside the baseball field during his rehab period broadened his horizons.

Lee Yong-chan’s performance after transferring to NC was 102 games, 40 saves, and an average ERA of 2.04 (as of the 11th). 6th in league saves in the same period. Among the closers who achieved 40 or more saves, Ko Woo-seok (LG Twins, 72 saves, 1.82 ERA) has the lowest ERA. The sense of stability is so great. Thanks to his steady performance, he was awarded the Taegeuk mark in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC). 

He also set significant records in the league. On the 11th, against KT Wiz in Changwon, he took the mound in the ninth inning with a 1-0 lead, and with a tough save, he stepped on the 130th individual career high of 130 saves. After the game, he said, “There is no great excitement for making 130 saves. Winning one game is more important, and finishing the game with a shutout is more important.” I think. I will continue to show you a good image.”

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