Local interest in Korean baseball player Lee Jung-hoo, 25, is growing by the day as he tries to make it to Major League Baseball (MLB). The expected contract terms and destinations are becoming more and more concrete.
On Sept. 9 (KST), CBS Sports in the U.S. introduced Lee Jung-hoo in an article titled “10 Things to Watch for in the MLB Stovepipe”. “He’s young, 25, so his prime could be just around the corner,” the outlet wrote, predicting that he could sign a six-year, $90 million contract with an opt-out after the fourth year that would allow him to declare free agency.
If Lee signs a contract worth an average of $15 million per year, it would be the second-largest contract ever signed by a Korean Major League Baseball player. The top spot is held by Choo Shin-soo (now with the SSG Rangers), who signed a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Texas Rangers in December 2013. Ryu signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in December 2019. Compared to Lee’s projected terms, Ryu’s average salary is higher, but his total is lower, according to CBS Sports.
Kim Ha-seong (San Diego Padres), Lee’s senior, signed a four-year, $28 million contract with San Diego after the 2020 season. He will receive an average of $7 million per year. Kim, who became the first Korean player to win a Gold Glove Award (utility) on June 6, will likely get a much better deal when he becomes a free agent after next season. 카지노사이트
CBS Sports also predicted where Lee will end up. “The San Francisco Giants are struggling with player availability, and Lee fits the bill,” the outlet said. “He’s a good defender in center field and has a decent bat, so he’ll be able to play well in San Francisco’s home ballpark, Oracle Park.”
The Giants have been among the most aggressive in their pursuit of Lee. Last month, San Francisco general manager Pete Pettitte traveled to Korea to watch Lee play his final regular season game.
Other outlets are also excited about Lee. In a recent article ranking MLB free agent hitters for the 2024 season, Fox Sports ranked Lee fourth behind Shohei Ohtani, Cody Bellinger, and Matt Chapman. “If Lee hadn’t injured his ankle this season, the news of his MLB aspirations would have garnered even more attention,” the publication said, “and he’s considered a much more talented prospect than Kim Ha-Sung.”
MLB.com also profiled Lee as one of the “nine most compelling free agents” in the game. “It’s not easy to predict how a South Korean KBO star will adjust to the MLB,” MLB.com wrote, “but Lee should have a relatively smooth transition. Given his age and talent, there’s a chance he could sign a big free agent contract.”