“Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom Heroes) can be the best in the world.”
The U.S. media has been speaking highly of Lee. On the 9th (KST), American sports media outlet ‘The Athletic’ highlighted Lee as a player the San Francisco Giants should sign as they need to bolster their infield, calling him ‘the best in the world’.
“Center field is a position that the Giants must address this winter,” The Athletic wrote. If the Giants fail to sign a center fielder in the offseason, they’ll be holding their breath. Kevin Kiermaier had his best season at the plate, but he’s 34 years old and his bat is questionable. Harrison Bader had his worst season at the plate this year. Jung-Hoo Lee may be limited in his defensive range after an ankle injury this season, but he could be one of the best in the world,” he said.
San Francisco isn’t the only team interested in Lee. “Probably half of the major league clubs (30 teams) have contacted us,” Lee’s agent, Scott Boras, told reporters in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the Major League Baseball owners’ meetings were held on Sept. 9, expressing confidence in Lee’s success in the United States.
“He’s a premium middle infielder,” Boras said. He plays good defense and, you know, he has power. I think he can bring K-pop to the major leagues.” Just as Korean idols like BTS and Blackpink have created an unimaginable “K-pop” craze in the U.S., Lee has the potential to make a splash in the major leagues, where Asian beasts have rarely made it big.
He also pointed out Lee’s hitting talent. “The Boras touted Lee’s very low strikeout rate,” The Athletic wrote. In seven seasons (in South Korea), Lee has 383 walks and 304 strikeouts in 3,947 plate appearances.
U.S. media reports have estimated Lee’s price tag at $50 million (65.6 billion won) to $90 million (approximately $118 billion won). ‘MLB Trade Rumors’ reported five years and $50 million, ‘The Athletic’ reported four years and $56 million, and ‘CBS Sports’ reported six years and $90 million. 보스토토
CBS Sports, which offered the most generous deal, was very specific: “Jung-Hoo Lee will sign a six-year, $90 million contract with San Francisco, with the right to exercise an opt-out after four years. That’s close to $100 million, and $90 million is what Japanese left-hander Masataka Yoshida signed with the Boston Red Sox when he broke into the major leagues this year. Yoshida’s contract is for five years. Yoshida has more guaranteed money, but Lee has proven that he’s capable of earning up to $90 million.
The reason Lee is attracting interest from nearly half of the major league clubs is his youth and low price tag compared to the top free agents. Lee is only 25 years old, and he has excellent contact ability, with a .340 career batting average in the KBO. He’ll need time to adjust to major league pitching.