Lotte Giants manager Larry Sutton has relinquished the baton.
The Lotte team said, 토토사이트“Coach Sutton resigned for health reasons after the end of the KT Wiz game on the 27th. After careful consideration, the club accepts Coach Sutton’s will,” the team said on Aug. 28.
Lotte had played the previous day’s game against KT under acting head coach Lee Jong-woon. Lotte explained the reason as “Coach Sutton went home for health reasons after attending the ballpark.” At that time, Sutton reportedly delivered his resignation to the club and said goodbye to some players.
Reporter Sijong Jung
Sutton was under extreme stress due to the recent poor performance. Even before the game against the LG Twins in Busan on the 17th, there were speculations about his health. At the official press conference before the game, he said, “Where did the story of ‘I fell down’ come from? It’s a distortion. I had a basic checkup at the club’s partner hospital for a week before the game in Seoul,” he said.
However, he ended up complaining of dizziness and vacating the dugout that day. The hospital checkup did not reveal any specific diagnosis or abnormality, but the symptoms continued. “Sutton had a hard time being in the dugout,” said a source. Due to the stress caused by his poor performance, he recently experienced symptoms similar to panic disorder.”
Sutton, who played for the Hyundai Unicorns and KIA Tigers as a player, began his relationship with Lotte when he took the helm of the Futures (second team) League from the final training camp in 2019. Lotte fired Heo in mid-May 2021 and entrusted Sutton, who was leading the second team, with the first team. After finishing last in 2021 with a record of 12 wins and 18 losses (0.400 winning percentage) under Heo, Lotte went on to win 53 games, lose 53 games, and draw 8 games for a winning percentage of 0.500 in the remaining games under Sutton. As a result, Lotte extended Sutton’s contract by one year, which was set to run through 2022, and secured his services through 2023. Last year, when Sutton led the team for the first time from spring training, Lotte finished eighth (64 wins, 76 losses, and four draws).
Heading into this season, Lotte spent 19 billion won ($19.5 million) of the capital increase it received from its parent group on free agent signings, but its chances of reaching the postseason (PS) for the first time in six years were red-flagged. After finishing April, the first month of the regular season, in first place and forming a three-way tie with the LG Twins and SSG Landers by early June, things started to go south. The team went 8-2 through mid-August before dropping seven straight games to fall back out of the top-five fight. As of Aug. 28, they were five games behind fifth-place KIA, which is the minimum for a postseason berth. Lotte has only 36 games left to play, making it difficult to turn things around.
Photo by Yonhap
The poorer the performance, the more isolated Sutton has become. In the previous two years, there were three foreign coaches on the first team bench. This year, the foreign coaches have left, and a number of domestic coaches have been hired. Sutton has also shared a baseball philosophy with Lotte President Sung Min-kyu, but this season, the atmosphere has changed. In June, a rift surfaced when pitching coach Bae Young-soo was demoted to the second team. That’s when doubts about Sutton’s leadership began to surface.
In the end, Sutton decided not to serve out the remainder of his term. After Yang Sang-moon, Heo Mun-hoe, and Sutton, three Lotte coaches left without fulfilling their contracts. Head coach Lee Jong-woon, who took the helm of the first team in 2015, will lead Lotte as acting head coach for the remainder of the season.