Interest in Lee Jung-hoo, the top hitter in the KBO, is increasing as the Major League Baseball offseason gets underway. Local American media outlets have been discussing Lee, and the San Francisco Giants’ local media has been thrilled about the possibility.
They cited the example of outfielder Masataka Yoshida, 30, who became the highest-paid Asian player in the major leagues last winter when he inked a five-year, $90 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.
NBC Sports Bay Area in the U.S. covered the story on Aug. 8 as it looked ahead to San Francisco’s offseason. With both Ohtani and Yamamoto set to compete for top-tier free agency, and top slugger Cody Bellinger unsure of his future, 바카라사이트 the team pinned its hopes on the possibility of signing Lee.
San Francisco reporter Alex Pavlovich, who wrote the article, said: ‘Even if the Giants miss out on both Ohtani and Yamamoto, there are still plenty of ways the Giants can improve their roster. Bellinger, who was a target a year ago, is a good fit for the Giants, who are looking for a center fielder for the second straight year,” and mentioned Lee as the next best option in center field.
‘This summer, senior San Francisco officials traveled to South Korea to see Lee.
General manager Pete Putilla traveled back to Korea to watch Lee play his final game for the Kiwoom Heroes. The San Francisco front office spent months conducting a full investigation into Yamamoto and Lee.
Pavlovic went on to say, “At the plate, Lee is considered a defensive center fielder who fits the San Francisco team philosophy best. He has drawn 49 walks and struck out just 23 times this year. “He has the best hand-eye coordination of any KBO player I’ve ever seen,” said a longtime scout. This means that his ability to make contact with the ball and his vision to see the ball is very good.
Pavlovic continued, “The gap-to-gap hitter hit 23 home runs in 2022, but this year, after suffering an ankle injury, he hit just six home runs in 86 games. But those familiar with his baseball believe there is more power to come,” adding that they expect him to showcase his long ball skills as well.
The presence of new manager Bob Melvin, who was hired after the firing of manager Gabe Kapler, was also a factor in Lee’s signing.
Melvin was the manager of the San Diego Padres for the past two years, where he developed Kim into a gold glove player.
Pavlovic said, ‘Melvin helped Kim become a big contributor in San Diego, and San Francisco sees a lot of similarities with Lee. His success over the past two seasons is one of the reasons why the Giants are considering him as a potential center fielder.
President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi said in a post-season interview last month,
“We’ve done a lot of work on Lee Jung-hoo. We went to Korea several times. In the second half of the season, he missed a lot of time with injuries, but we expect him to come back healthy.”
Pavlovic said, “Lee is expected to be a good fit for San Francisco compared to the market conditions for other players,” but also noted that “Boston made a surprise signing of Japanese outfielder Yoshida for $90 million last offseason. It’s a reminder that bids can come from unexpected places,” adding that San Francisco shouldn’t be too optimistic about signing Lee.
Compared to Lee, Yoshida’s top-of-the-line hitting stats earned him a massive five-year, $90 million contract with Boston.
It was an overpayment, but Boston took a gamble. After batting fourth for Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March and helping them win the title, Yoshida didn’t disappoint in his first season in the big leagues this year, batting .288/9 (155-for-537) with 15 home runs, 72 RBIs, a .338 on-base percentage, .445 slugging percentage, and a .783 OPS in 140 games.
It’s unlikely that Lee will get a $90 million contract like Yoshida, but he’s certainly capable of getting one if he’s competitive.
Media outlets have begun to speculate on the size of Lee’s contract. On July 7, Major League Baseball Trade Rumors (MLBTR) ranked Lee as the No. 15 free agent and projected him to sign a five-year, $50 million contract.
‘One evaluator said that Lee is unlikely to stick in center field due to the strain on his bat.
He has good pure contact skills, but there are concerns that he doesn’t have the power needed to play the corner outfield every day.” ‘Of course, some teams had similar concerns when Yoshida came over from Nippon Professional Baseball a year ago. But Boston had enough faith in Yoshida to guarantee him five years and $90 million, suggesting that teams’ predictions for players coming from other leagues vary. These contracts are notoriously unpredictable,” he explained.
The fact that Yoshida and Lee are represented by super-agent Scott Boras was also mentioned. Boras’ salesmanship, which brought Yoshida to the major leagues at the highest price ever paid for an Asian hitter, could lead to a higher-than-expected price tag for Lee.
Boras also negotiated a six-year, $36 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for Korean pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu, who was posted from the Hanwha Eagles in December 2012. The Dodgers invested a total of $61.73 million, including the $25.37 million and 33 cents posted to Hanwha at the time. It remains the highest contract for a KBO player to go straight to the major leagues.