Major League Baseball (MLB) has formally checked on the availability of two Korean league stars, Lee Jung-hoo and Go Woo-suk, officials here said Wednesday, an indication of interest in the pair from North America. The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said MLB tendered a status check on Lee, an outfielder for the Kiwoom Heroes, and Go, a closer for the LG Twins, on Tuesday. The KBO said it had informed MLB that the two players are currently under contract with their respective clubs here. Under an agreement between MLB and the KBO, a major league team interested in a Korean player, professional or amateur, must complete the status check through the league offices. Once MLB requests a status check, the KBO must respond within four business days. In these instances, MLB must not reveal the identities of the big league clubs inquiring about the Korean player in question .The Heroes have already said they plan to post Lee for interested MLB clubs this offseason. Lee, 25, is widely considered the best hitter in the KBO, with a career batting average of .340, the highest figure among all players with at least 3,000 plate appearances. He was voted the 2022 regular season MVP after leading the league in batting average, hits, RBIs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He was limited to 86 games this year, after missing most of the second half with an ankle injury. He batted .318 for the season, bouncing back nicely after hitting only .218 in April, his lowest monthly batting average.

The outfielder, son of KBO legend Lee Jong-beom, has attracted scouts from multiple MLB clubs for the past several years. His name has popped up in major U.S. sports publications on the list of free agents to watch this offseason. Go, who is married to Lee’s younger sister, has been one of the KBO’s premier closers since assuming that role for the Twins in 2019. He has recorded 139 saves over the past five seasons, more than any other closer in that span. Go struggled with injuries this year and finished with 15 saves in 44 appearances with a 3.68 ERA, his highest in four seasons. He struck out 59 in 44 innings and has 401 Ks in 368 1/3 innings for his career. He recently helped the Twins win their first Korean Series title in 29 years, recording the final three outs of the title-clinching, 6-2 victory in Game 5 against the KT Wiz. Both Lee and Go are eligible for posting this year after completing the equivalent of seven full seasons in the KBO. A full season equals 145 days spent on the active roster. Though both players missed some time this year with injuries, up to 30 days spent on the injured list count toward their service time. In Go’s case, he earned an additional 16 days of service time by playing for Korea at the Asian Games this fall, and he ended up with 176 days on the active roster this year.

Go only logged 100 days on the active roster as a rookie in 2017, the only season in which he failed to reach 145 days. However, Go received a total of 105 additional days for playing for Korea at various international tournaments, including the Olympics in 2021 and the World Baseball Classic and the Asian Games this year. Go is allowed to take however many days necessary from his international play and add them to his KBO service time to meet 145.Lee’s service time for the season came to 154. He was expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing ankle operation in late July, but he returned for the final stretch and picked up 11 days of service time. Under the posting system, any interested MLB team can negotiate with the posted KBO player during a 30-day window. And if that player signs a major league contract, his former KBO club will receive a transfer fee of sorts, depending on the guaranteed portion of the contract. If the guaranteed value of the deal is $25 million or less, the fee will be 20 percent of the contract. If the contract is worth between $25,000,001 and $50 million, the fee will be 20 percent of the first $25 million, plus 17.5 percent of any amount exceeding that $25 million .If a player signs for more than $50 million, his former KBO team 스포츠토토존 will receive $9,375,000 and then 15 percent of the amount exceeding $50 million. 

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