Ha Joo-seok (29, Hanwha Eagles) had his annual salary cut drastically in the aftermath of drunk driving. Still, he is a billionaire.
On the 26th, Hanwha released all of the 2023 team salaries. The name that caught my eye by far in the list of top 20 annual salaries was Ha Joo-seok. Ha Joo-seok signed for 100 million won, a cut of 100 million won from 209 million won in annual salary last year. The reduction rate was -50.2%, literally ‘significantly’ cut. Looking at this year’s annual salary of Roh Su-gwang (33), who recorded the second biggest cut after Ha Joo-seok, it is more realistic. Noh Soo-gwang receives 109 million won, a decrease of 19.4 million won (-15.1%) from last year’s annual salary of 128.4 million won.
The decisive reason for the reduction of 100 to 900,000 won is drunk driving. Ha Joo-seok was caught with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.078% in a drunk driving crackdown in Dong-gu, Daejeon, on the morning of November 19 last year, and his license was suspended.
The KBO held a reward and punishment committee and imposed a 70-game suspension on Ha Joo-seok in accordance with the KBO Rules Article 151 Dignity Damage. As he could not play in 70 games, half of 144 games this year, a cut of more than 50% in salary was a natural result.
The club suffered a great loss due to Ha Joo-seok’s foolish behavior. In order to make up for the painful past of staying at the bottom for three consecutive years from 2020 to last year, Hanwha has been more active in reinforcing power than any other club in this free agency market. Before the recruitment of free agents, Hanwha almost did not fall out and posted their names. Thanks to this, I was able to embrace Chae Eun-seong (6 years, 9 billion won), Lee Tae-yang (4 years, 2.5 billion won), Oh Seon-jin (1+1 years, 400 million won), and Jang Si-hwan (3 years, 930 million won).
However, Ha Joo-seok’s departure was a variable that was not included in the calculation. As Ha Joo-seok had an accident, he needed to reinforce an infielder, and as soon as he was in the market, he caught Oh Seon-jin, who remained in the market, and strengthened his depth. 안전놀이터
Even if the club prepared an alternative, Ha Joo-seok was the central axis of the team, so leaving 70 games is even more painful. Ha Joo-seok, who came from the first round in 2012, has grown into the starting shortstop as Hanwha hoped, and was walking the path of a desirable one-club man while serving as captain. Last year had ups and downs, but he had a batting average of 0.258 (115 hits in 445 at-bats), 5 homers and 58 RBIs in 125 games. Tuchman (166 hits), Jeong Eun-won (139 hits), Roh Si-hwan (122 hits), and Kim In-hwan (104 hits) were the only players who reached 100 hits in Hanwha last year.
Even if he can’t play more than half of the season, Joo-seok Ha still receives a salary of 100 million won. It also means that from his 71st game, he has a lot to do in the team. Will Ha Joo-seok be able to return as a player worthy of the club’s treatment?