“Goodrum is a 1.92 meters tall, 99 kg right-handed batting utility player in the outfield…”
This was part of the press release the Lotte Giants sent out on July 11 when they signed their new foreign player, Niko Goodrum. The expectations for Goodrum were clear. In addition to adding weight to the offense, the Giants wanted him to fill a weak spot in the defense and ease the physical burden on existing players with his versatility.
Goodrum was already recognized for his defense, as he was one of three Gold Glove finalists at shortstop in the American League in 2020. His major league and minor league records show that he has played both left and right field, as well as second, third, and first base. Even though his offense was a question mark, his defense was expected to be fine. Above all, he was a player that not only Lotte, but all KBO teams were looking at as their number one replacement. Goodrum was the player they said would be the least likely to fail.
Goodrum played 30 games (243 innings) at first base, 22 games (185⅓ innings) at second base, and 12 games (100 innings) at third base in Triple-A this year. He has only played one game in the outfield. He has played the most innings at shortstop in his career. 147 games (1200⅔ innings) in the majors and 294 games (2487 innings) in the minors. After shortstop, the next most experienced position is third base. I’ve played 11 games (84 innings) at third base in the majors and 228 games (1934 innings) in the minors. The next most experienced position after shortstop and third base is second base, with 124 games (931⅓ innings) in the majors and 91 games (752⅔ innings) in the minors. Outfielders have also played 67 games (493⅓ innings) in the majors and 93 games (732 innings) in the minors. He played left, center, and right field equally.
We could see that he was talented and athletic. But it didn’t take long to lift the lid and see that something was firmly wrong with Lotte’s choice. The question marks at the plate have been there for over a month. And in the field, he’s been getting sloppier with each game he plays. His left hamstring is said to be bothering him, but even taking that into account, Goodrum is proving to be clumsy in every defensive position he plays. And Goodrum’s mistakes tend to have irreversible consequences for Lotte.
In the KBO, he has committed seven errors at third base (238 innings) and three at shortstop (43 innings) this year, with no errors in left field (six innings) or right field (five innings). In the second game of the doubleheader against the Changwon NC on April 9, Goodrum came up big again. After missing the first game of the doubleheader, Goodrum started the second game at second base. In the sixth inning, with a 4-3 lead, the incident happened.
A double by Oh Young-soo and a single to right by Kim Joo-won put runners on first and third with no outs. Shin Jung-rak, the fourth pitcher on the mound, struck out pinch-hitter Park Geon-woo to get out of the jam, and Choi Jung-won’s mis-hit ball rolled slowly toward the foul pole. It was a tough situation, with no outs at home and no chance to get the kill. It was best to concede one run and extend the count.
But Goodrum came through with a late throw home to keep the runners alive. The game was tied 4-4 and the runners were safe. The play was a fielder’s choice, but it was an error by Goodrum, which led to a butterfly effect. With runners on first and second, Son walked to load the bases, and Seo gave up a two-run single to right. The score was 4-6. Lotte had the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning, but could only score one run and lost 5-6. With a chance to win the game and turn the tide, Goodrum gave up an RBI single.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Gudrum caught Son’s grounder to second base with the bases loaded and tried to force a tag on Kim Hyung-jun, who was caught in a chokehold. He could have thrown the runner out at first base and then thrown back to first for the double play, but it was not called. In the next at-bat, he failed to catch Park Min-woo’s grounder to first base, putting runners on second and third. His body stiffened as the ball went by. He didn’t react quickly enough. He was in danger of giving up another run, but it didn’t turn into a disaster.스포츠토토
Lee Jong-woon is already thinking about how to utilize Goodrum. He has diagnosed a sore hamstring, a lack of confidence, and a lack of balance, but he can’t rule Goodrum out of the lineup right now. He even played right field in the last eight games to take some pressure off the infield. He didn’t look bad chasing down balls, but he had issues with his split-second judgment and follow-through. The outfield also showed signs of struggle.
The more time that passes, the more his rawness is revealed. Lotte is trying to utilize Goodrum in some way, but there’s no point in having a foreign player if he can’t do his job anywhere. Lotte will have to live with the Goodrum dilemma for the remainder of the season unless their fall baseball hopes are completely dashed.