“We’re definitely ready” SD head coach strong will… Trade Soto and reborn ‘Lee Jung-hoo + Kim Ha-seong’ combination?

December 6, 2023 | by

“I’m definitely ready”

After winning the regular season MVP title last year with five batting titles, Lee sat down with Kiwoom Heroes for a chat. During the conversation, Lee expressed his desire to enter the major leagues through the posting system after the 2023 season, and Kiwoom was very supportive of his decision. Afterward, Lee joined hands with “Devil’s Agent” Scott Boras and completed all the preparations to enter the major leagues, and entered the “first reading” last month.

토토사이트 The KBO requested the Major League Baseball office to post Lee to the 30 Major League Baseball teams at the request of the Kiwoom Heroes on March 24 (KST), and when the Major League Baseball office published Lee’s posting on the 5th, Lee was free to negotiate with the 30 Major League Baseball teams from 8 a.m. ET on the 5th to 5 p.m. ET on January 3, 2024.

Despite not being able to play a full season due to ankle surgery before entering the major leagues, Lee’s popularity is at an all-time high. He is highly regarded for his performance in various international tournaments and his cumulative stats in the KBO. In particular, this year’s free agent market in Major League Baseball has been called a “bad year,” and while many teams are looking to bolster their rosters, there aren’t many players available, so Lee’s value is rising day by day.

Currently, four teams are the most likely destinations for Lee. The New York Yankees, who have been “linked” by local media since Lee expressed his desire to play in the major leagues. The Yankees are looking to add a left-handed hitting outfielder to their lineup this year. And the San Francisco Giants, whose general manager Pete Putilla personally visited the Gotham SkyDome despite the fact that Lee was sidelined with an injury. Currently, the Giants are looking to bolster their lineup with their deep pockets.

The New York Mets are the latest team to be ‘on the radar’ as a potential destination. Led by “billionaire” owner Steve Cohen, the Mets are without Brandon Nemo and Starling Marte, and they have a spot in the outfield. The Yankees and San Francisco have deep pockets, but when it comes down to it, the Mets are not far behind. In fact, they’re ahead of the game. The Mets went on a “rampage” at StubHub last year, seemingly unconcerned about the luxury tax.

The fourth team is the San Diego Padres, home of Kim ‘Awesome Kim’ Ha-seong. San Diego signed Kim to a 4+1 year contract worth up to $39 million (approx. KRW 512 billion) before the 2021 season. In his rookie season, Kim didn’t show the “advantages” of his KBO days, but he showed improvement year after year, and this year he became the first Asian infielder to win a Gold Glove. He proved that even a former KBO player can make it.

Based on the success of Kim Ha-seong, it has been revealed by multiple local media outlets that San Diego is interested in signing Lee Jung-hoo, but until now, there has been no word on the team’s situation and plans. The American ‘The Athletic’ pointed this out. “The 25-year-old Lee, who is known for his uncommon hitting skills, could help San Diego’s left-handed batting woes,” the outlet said, adding, “He could have the advantage of teaming up with Kim Ha-seong, who is best friends with Lee. Kim has spent more than a year advising Lee on how to make the transition to the big leagues.”

It’s clear why San Diego is interested in Lee. Currently, the Padres are looking to move on from Juan Soto and Trent Grisham, both of whom are free agents after the 2024 season. In particular, the Padres have been in active talks with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees about trading Soto recently. Losing either Soto or Grisham would leave a gaping hole in the outfield, so the Dodgers are serious about signing Lee.

“If the Padres were to trade both Soto and Grisham, they could be looking to acquire multiple outfielders,” The Athletic explained. However, there is a catch. Even if Grisham stays, Soto must be traded. The reason: money. San Diego spent a ton of money last offseason, signing Darvish Yu and Jake Cronenweth to long-term deals and acquiring Xander Bogaerts, which led to a rush to borrow money.

“Acquiring Lee without trading Dan Soto seems financially impossible. The Boras are expected to demand at least a $50 million contract, plus posting fees,” while also noting that general manager A.J. Preller has long been interested in Lee.

“We are ready for players to come out of the KBO and Nippon Professional Baseball. We’re definitely ready to go,” but for San Diego to jump into the Jung-Hoo race, it’s imperative that they get rid of Soto. “If the Padres don’t trade Soto, their offseason could quickly disappear,” The Athletic added.

For now, major league teams are clearly interested in Lee, with some outlets predicting a price tag of up to $90 million. The average offer is in the $50 million range. Once Soto’s living arrangements are resolved, San Diego is likely to be a top destination for Lee, along with the Yankees, San Francisco, and Mets.


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