By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) — South Korean baseball club LG Twins announced Thursday they have inked star shortstop Oh Ji-hwan to a six-year extension.
Oh is the first player in Twins history to sign a multiyear deal as a non-free agent. In the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), players typically sign a series of one-year deals with their current clubs before hitting the open market, though a few players from other teams have recently signed multiyear contracts as non-free agents.
The Twins said Oh’s new deal runs from 2024 to 2029, with a total guaranteed salary of 10 billion won (US$8.1 million) and incentives of up to 2.4 billion won. Oh’s current four-year, 4 billion-won deal, signed after the 2019 season, was to expire at the end of this year.
This contract all but ensures the 32-year-old shortstop will finish his KBO career with the Twins, a team that drafted him out of high school in 2008.
“Oh Ji-hwan is our franchise star, and an exemplary leader in the clubhouse and the dugout,” the Twins said in a statement. “We hope he will have peace of mind with this multiyear contract and concentrate on producing the best results on the field this season.”
In his early years, Oh was a mediocre shortstop with speed but a penchant for botching routine plays. Over recent seasons, however, Oh has evolved into among the very best defenders at any position in the KBO.
As captain of the Twins, Oh put it all together in 2022, hitting a career-high 25 home runs and swiping 20 bags for his first 20-20 campaign, while flashing the leather all year. He earned his first Golden Glove, awarded to the best overall player at each position.
“It’s a huge honor for any player to spend an entire career with one team, and I am so thankful to the club for giving me that opportunity,” Oh said. “I know what the club and our fans expect. I will try my best to meet those expectations.”
The Twins set a franchise record with 87 wins in the regular season, before coming up short in the postseason yet again. They haven’t won a Korean Series title since 1994.