High-paid players live up to salary
By Kang Seung-woo
The top five highest-paid players are wielding red-hot bats, proving they were worth the money. Five baseball clubs shelled out a total of 4.3 billion won ($3.78 million) for them, prompting concerns over “inflated salaries.”
In the season-opening two-game series, Hanwha Eagles’ slugging first baseman Kim Tae-kyun, the game’s best-paid player with 1.5 billion won annual salary, made an impressive comeback after leaving Japan, going 4-for-8 with three RBIs.
The 29-year-old, who joined the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2010, went down with a wrist injury in May and decided to quit his one-plus-year Japanese stint.
Eagles manager Han Dai-hwa was satisfied with Kim’s solid performances, saying
“There is nothing special to require of him because he knows what to do for himself.”
Samsung Lions’ Lee Seung-yeop, who has also returned from the Japanese league, played up to his 800 million won salary, producing four hits in nine plate appearances against the LG Twins during the weekend.
Although the Asian homer record holder, at 56, failed to connect for a home run, Lee had the second-best batting average on the Daegu-based club next to Park Sok-min, who batted .667. In addition, the left-handed swinger proved he can deal with left-handers, achieving three hits off them.
Kim Dong-joo of the Doosan Bears and Lee Taek-keun of the Nexen Heroes, who both agreed to a 700 million won deal for the 2012 season, got off to a solid start.
Kim, a 15-yeare veteran, went 3-for-9, notching two RBIs and as many runs, while Lee, 31, who has rejoined the Heroes this season after a two-year spell with the Twins, delivered three RBIs and one run with a batting average of .300.
Twins outfielder Lee Byung-kyu, standing fifth in the salary rankings with 600 million won, cranked a grand slam off Lions starter Cha Woo-chan in Saturday’s game.
The Seoul-based Twins, hit hard by a match-fixing scandal involving their two pitchers during the offseason, said that Lee, the team’s captain, leads the tattered team well.
“Lee contributes to the team by sticking together. He is making much effort to get the team back on track on and off the field,” said an official of the Twins.