Giants get versatile infielder Hwang in swap with Heroes

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Giants get versatile infielder Hwang in swap with Heroes

The Lotte Giants bolstered their infield yesterday by acquiring third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun from the Nexen Heroes.

In the two-for-one swap, Lotte sent 22-year-old infielder Kim Min-sung and 24-year-old pitcher Kim Soo-hwa to the Heroes in exchange for Hwang. The addition of Hwang at third base will be a welcome change for the Giants, who currently sit fourth overall in the league standings with a record of 41 wins, three draws and 43 losses.

Hwang will be a significant upgrade from current third baseman Lee Dae-ho in terms of defense.

The move will also give manager Jerry Royster the option of playing the versatile Hwang at shortstop or moving the burly slugger Lee to first base. Despite a dominating season at the plate, Lee lacks the speed and agility to be a reliable fielder at third base.

“In acquiring Hwang, we have improved our fielding and offense and put ourselves in a position to advance to the postseason and the Korean Series,” stated a Lotte official.

Hwang broke into the Korea Baseball Organization in 2007 with the Hyundai Unicorns after graduating from Kyunggi High School. He had a breakout season last year, batting .284 with 18 home runs, 64 RBI and 30 stolen bases. In the process, Hwang was tabbed as one of the top young players in the league.

Hwang was linked to an offseason trade talk between the Giants and Heroes. However, his production this year has been nowhere close to the numbers he produced last season because of injuries. Hwang is currently hitting .256 with two home runs, eight RBI and 12 stolen bases.

In Kim Min-sung, Nexen receives a backup infielder who hit .248 with four home runs and 37 RBI last season. He is hitting .256 with two home runs and eight RBI this season.

Kim Soo-hwa is considered a pitcher with a lot of potential. Despite a meager record of one win and 10 loses with 7.41 ERA in 23 appearances in his career for the Giants, Kim is still considered as having enough talent to become a starting pitcher in the KBO.

“In Kim Min-sung, we get a versatile player who can play all infield positions, and Kim Soo-hwa is a former high draft pick,” stated a Nexen official. “We’re expecting an improvement to our offense and defense as well as our pitching.”


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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