“Lee Jeong-hoo headed to San Diego? NO, team will offer more money
With Shohei Ohtani (28) deciding to join the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Major League Baseball free agency market is about to get moving. The future of Korean outfielder Lee Jung-hoo (25) is also becoming clearer. The San Diego Padres are among the favorites, but nothing has been decided yet. Losing out on Ohtani will allow the San Francisco Giants to spend more money.
The American ‘The Athletic’ reported on the 11th (KST) that ‘San Diego has confirmed that it has not met with Ohtani during free agency, unlike six years ago’ and that ‘a source familiar with the club said a deal with free agent center fielder Lee Jung-hoo is not imminent’.
‘San Diego has long been interested in Lee, and has two outfield spots open. In particular, infielder Kim Ha-seong is a close former teammate of Lee’s who could directly help him make the transition to the United States. Park Chan-ho, an advisor to San Diego’s baseball operations team, also explained that the Padres are a favorite to sign Lee, saying that three years ago, Kim helped San Diego beat out the Toronto Blue Jays for a four-year, $28 million contract.
San Diego, which traded left fielder Juan Soto and center fielder Trent Grisham to the New York Yankees last week to fill two outfield spots, also lowered its payroll to around $156 million, setting the stage for the signing of Lee.
However, the deal is not a done deal yet, according to Lin.
“The San Francisco Giants are also interested in Lee, and they probably have more money to spend than San Diego,” he said, adding that the team could use the money left over from losing Ohtani to sign Lee.
“Industry insiders say they wouldn’t be surprised to see Lee sign a deal close to Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida, 카지노사이트가이드 who signed a five-year, $90 million contract with the Boston Red Sox last offseason,” said Lee’s agent, Scott Boras.
“Almost half of the teams in the league have already contacted us,” Boras said during the general managers’ meeting last month, adding, “We brought Yoshida to the major leagues. “We brought Yoshida to the majors because we knew his ability to hit the ball could work at the highest level. He’s a premium middle infielder. He plays good defense and has power. He’s going to bring K-pop to the major leagues,” he said, comparing him to Yoshida.
However, Lin said, “There are reasons to believe that Lee won’t get a contract as good as Yoshida. Five years younger than Yoshida, Lee is a faster runner and a stronger defender, and San Diego believes he has above-average skills for a big league center fielder. However, some evaluators still view the KBO as roughly equivalent to the Double-A level. They point to the level of the KBO and this year’s injuries as a concern, noting that he hit just six home runs this year before his season was cut short by ankle surgery.
Still, there’s no disputing that San Diego is the right team for Lee.
Aside from Cody Bellinger, there are no other notable free agent outfielders. According to Lin, “San Diego is unlikely to be aggressive in signing Bellinger, who is expected to command more than $100 million. Therefore, of the available outfielders, Lee Jung-hoo is the best fit for the Padres,’ and emphasized that ‘having Kim Ha-seong and Lee Jung-hoo on the same team may not have the same international resonance as signing Ohtani, but it is something that San Diego should consider in order to have a season to remember.
Meanwhile, Lee Jung-hoo, whose signing began at 10 p.m. KST (8 a.m. ET) on May 5, has until 7 a.m. KST (5 p.m. ET on Jan. 3) next month to finalize his contract.