Kiwoom Heroes completed all 144 regular-season games after the SSG Landers match at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 13th. This means that Lee Jung-hoo will not be seen wearing Kiwoom’s uniform in the future, although it may be “for the time being” or “forever.”
Lee Jung-hoo expressed his intention to advance to the big league early in December last year, and Kiwoom also accepted it. Unless something major happens, it is certain that it will enter MLB through a posting system (closed competitive bidding) this winter. In January, he signed an agency contract with Scott Boras, a big-name agent.
Lee Jung-hoo, who has been devoted to rehabilitation after undergoing ankle surgery at the end of July, made a surprise return to Kiwoom’s final home game of the season at Gocheok Sky Dome on the 10th. He appeared as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning and was out with a grounder to the third base, and even defended the center fielder in the top of the ninth inning.
Lee Jung-hoo’s last KBO League game was watched by several MLB club officials. Even Pete Puteller, general manager of the San Francisco Giants, who is mentioned as a likely destination, visited Gocheok Sky Dome in person and drew attention.
In the U.S., interest in Lee Jung-hoo is also hot. CBS Sports, an American sports media, introduced the “2024 MLB FA Ranking Top 25” earlier this month and selected Lee Jung-hoo as 15th out of 25. He also added, “He is a good player in running and defense and has a direct contact rate of more than 97 percent.”
The U.S. “Yahoo Sports” also included Lee Jung-hoo as one of the “10 Players that the New York Yankees can target in the FA market” on the 7th. Lee ranked fifth out of 10. The media introduced, “Lee Jung-hoo can fill one center fielder or left fielder of the New York Yankees.”
The U.S. “Yahoo Sports” also noted Lee Jung-hoo as one of the “10 players the New York Yankees can target in the FA market.” The media outlet ranked 5th out of 10 players, introducing, “Lee Jung-hoo can fill a center fielder or left fielder spot in the New York Yankees.”
Lee Jung-hoo has already finished his showcase for a long time. The key is the conditions. Many situations are positive. First of all, there is no doubt about his ability. Not to mention the KBO League’s performance, it proved its competitiveness through the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March this year. The ankle injury suffered this year is not a big variable. 온라인카지노
Another advantageous factor is that center fielders who have both batting and defensive skills in MLB are highly treated. Asian hitters such as Kim Ha-sung (San Diego Padres), Suzuki Seiya (Chicago Cubs), and Yoshida Masataka (Boston Red Sox), who were senior members of the Kiwoom team, have succeeded one after another, raising expectations for Lee Jung-hoo.
Lee Jung-hoo’s destination is the name of a big club. San Francisco, where the general manager visited Korea, New York Yankees, the most prestigious club in the big league, and LA Angels, which includes Shohei Ohtani, are on the candidate list. San Diego, where Kim Ha-sung plays, is also known to be interested in Lee Jung-hoo.
Some predict that Lee Jung-hoo’s contract size will exceed $100 million in total. The recent rise in the ransom of big leaguers has been steep, but $100 million is still recognized as the baseline for special contracts.
Commentator Song Jae-woo, an MLB expert, said, “As the Major League has become a center fielder defense, there are not as many players with good batting performance as expected,” adding, “Lee Jung-hoo is still in his mid-20s, so the clubs are more eager to develop.”
However, he showed a slightly cautious response to the ransom. “Unless there is a big change, Kim Ha-sung’s contract terms of $39 million (4+1 years), but $100 million does not seem easy,” Song said. “It is likely to be similar to Yoshida (five-year, $90 million) or Suzuki (five-year, $85 million) who recently entered the MLB.”