Players’ group rejects KBO salary cap for free agents

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Players’ group rejects KBO salary cap for free agents

The Korea Professional Baseball Players Association (Kpbpa) said on Monday that it rejected the KBO’s proposal to limit the salaries of the leagues’ free agents.

On Sept. 19, the KBO announced that it capped the salaries of its free agents to a maximum of 8 billion won ($7.2 million) for four years and lowered the number of seasons players have to play to be eligible for free agency. For high school graduate players, the KBO suggested eight seasons instead of nine and for college graduates, seven seasons instead of eight.

“There is no guarantee that the money that clubs save from the salary cap on top-tier free agents will be spent on players in the lower echelon,” said Kim Sun-woong, the secretary general of the Kpbpa. “Teams are only intent on cutting costs on players. If they can’t afford to sign top players in free agency, they should try to develop more homegrown talent and find other ways to save money.”

The KBO also sought to divide free agents into three different classes based on their salaries over the five most recent seasons.

Up until this season, there were no limits on the salary of free agent players. Lee Dae-ho of the Lotte Giants is the most expensive free agent in KBO history, as he signed a four-year contract worth 15 billion won. As the signing of notable free agents easily exceeded eight billion won, the adjusted salary cap is expected to cause more trouble in the upcoming free agent signing.

“After the end of the postseason, we’d be willing to keep talking with the KBO and the clubs so that we can come up with a system that benefits everyone,” Kim said.

BY KANG YOO-RIM, YONHAP [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]

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