He became a close friend and family, and is he motivated to join the big league
Media outlets dealing with the news of the U.S. Major League reported on the 5th (Korea time) that Lee Jung-hoo and Ko Woo-seok started posting (closed competitive bidding) to the Major League. KBO delivered its intention to request posting to the Major League Secretariat on the 24th of last month and Ko Woo-seok on the 38th of last month, but as a result, they will proceed with posting together.
If the Major League Baseball secretariat notifies the posting, it is possible to negotiate between players and clubs from 8 a.m. on the next day to 5 p.m. on the 30th day of the U.S. Eastern Time. It is from 10 p.m. on the 5th in Korean time to 7 a.m. on January 4 next year. They can freely negotiate during this period like the FA, but if they fail to reach a final contract by the deadline, Lee Jung-hoo and Ko Woo-seok cannot apply for posting again until November 1 next year.
The two players, who were born in 1998, have been best friends since high school. They are close enough to shoot a travel entertainment program with Kim Hye-sung (Kium Heroes), who dreams of entering the Major League through posting next season. When Ko Woo-seok married Lee Ga-hyun, Lee Jung-hoo’s younger sister, in January this year, they became family members of their brother-in-law and exclusion. This is something that the U.S. media also finds interesting.
The two, who became best friends and family, are now looking at their motives for joining the big league. However, the situation between Lee Jung-hoo and Ko Woo-seok is a little different.
Lee Jung-hoo is a “preliminary big leaguer” that all major league clubs have watched. Early on, he partnered with Boras Company, a huge sports agency in the U.S., to herald his entry into the Major League. The club is so active that Kiwoom’s general manager Ko Hyung-wook said, “I support the future of Lee Jung-hoo, who is qualified to post and challenges toward a bigger stage.”
In an extreme way, the targets that U.S. team scouts mostly watched during their visit to Korea this year were Lee Jung-hoo and Eric Peddy (NC Dinos). Due to his ankle injury, he had a batting average of 0.318 with six homers and 45 RBIs in 86 games, but this is not expected to pose any obstacle to Lee’s advance to the Major League. Since his debut in the main league in 2017, Lee has played more than 140 games in four out of seven seasons. He was by no means a player with frequent injuries.
In the U.S., Lee Jung-hoo pays more attention to his achievements over the past seven years. When Lee Jung-hoo’s posting was confirmed, the official Instagram account of Major League Baseball introduced him as a special hitter who was the rookie of the year in 2017 and MVP in 2022, with five Golden Gloves and a career batting average of 0.340 OPS 0.898.
It also ranked at the top of the Major League Baseball FA rankings. New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants are considered leading destinations. It seems that a large-scale contract worth more than 50 million dollars is possible.
Ko’s challenge to the Major League was made behind the scenes. During the 2023 salary negotiations, Ko said he conveyed his intention to apply for posting to Cha Myung-seok, the team’s general manager, if he wins the title in a unified manner. During the season, the U.S. agency decided to visit Korea to help him advance to the Major League.
Due to injuries he gained during international competitions, his performance this season was not good. He had three wins, eight losses, 15 saves, and an earned run average of 3.68 in 44 games. However, as LG won the Korean Series after ranking No. 1 in the regular season, Ko’s dream became more concrete.
On the 15th of last month, it was reported that the Major League Secretariat requested the Major League club’s identification of Ko Woo-suk and Lee Jung-hoo. The domestic agency Ricoh Sports began discussing the posting of Ko Woo-suk with LG on the 16th, and LG expressed its intention to cooperate with him in entering the Major League with a “conditional consent” based on the size of the contract on the 22nd. Although the exact reference point has not been disclosed, LG believes that the contract should be more than the level that can be received as an FA.
Ko Woo-seok said on the 2nd, “I don’t think there’s much difference just because I applied now. First of all, the age problem was the biggest. Even if it doesn’t work out well, I can remain as an LG player. I think it’s best to go with the flow because we can challenge as an FA next year and go with posting this time.”
Meanwhile, the posting system has changed to a way that all 30 clubs can negotiate, unlike in the past, when only teams that produced the “highest amount” in competition could negotiate alone since July 2018. The method of calculating the transfer fee has also changed. Contracts with a total amount of less than 25 million dollars will be returned to the transfer fee for 20% of the guaranteed amount.
Contracts worth between 25 million U.S. dollars and 50 million dollars or less have different transfer fees. Up to 25 million dollars, the total transfer fee is 5 million dollars, or 20 percent, plus 17.5 percent of the section that exceeds 25 million dollars. If the total amount exceeds 50 million dollars, 15 percent of the section that exceeds 50 million dollars will be the total transfer fee.