A $120 billion jackpot and an opt-out? Will KBO superstars make a splash in the major leagues?
On September 9 (KST), CBS Sports, an American sports media organization, made 10 predictions for this year’s Major League Baseball offseason.
One of CBS Sports’ 10 predictions is that San Francisco will finally sign a star player. The star player that CBS Sports was referring to was Jung-Hoo Lee (25).
“San Francisco will finally sign a star player. Korean Kiwoom Heroes center fielder Lee Jung-hoo,” said CBS Sports. “Like Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Lee is only 25 years old, so the club will be looking to buy into his prime,” said CBS Sports. Yamamoto, a Japanese right-hander who is also trying to make it to the major leagues, was born in 1998.굿모닝토토 주소
According to CBS Sports, “Lee batted .318 with a .306 on-base percentage and .455 slugging percentage in 86 games before suffering an ankle injury last summer. Last year, he batted .349 with a .421 on-base percentage and .575 slugging percentage, hit 23 home runs and drew more than twice as many walks (66) as strikeouts (32) and was named the regular-season MVP.” “He’s also a talented defender. San Francisco has struggled to sign star players in the past, and Lee is exactly what they need.” He added that his ability to make contact will be a great fit for Oracle Park, the Giants’ home ballpark. Oracle Park is notoriously difficult to hit home runs at, especially for lefties.
In fact, the Giants were so interested in Lee that general manager Pete Putilla traveled to Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome on March 10 to watch him bat. Lee batted one at-bat in what could be his final home game of the season, bidding farewell to the home fans after recovering from an ankle injury.
San Francisco has already shown interest in Lee. “Senior San Francisco officials traveled to South Korea last summer to see Lee, and San Francisco general manager Putilla traveled to South Korea to see Lee in his final home game of the season,” NBC Sports Bay Area reported on Aug. 8.
San Francisco President of Baseball Farhan Zaidi also acknowledged the interest in Lee, telling ‘NBC Sports Bay Area’ that “the organization has put a lot of effort into Lee.” “We’ve been there (South Korea) several times,” Zaidi said. He missed a lot of time in the second half of the season due to injury, but we expect him to come back healthy,” Zaidi said, indicating not only interest in Lee but also a positive outlook.
Another positive is that San Francisco has hired Bob Melvin as its new head coach. Melvin is the same man who managed Ha-Sung Kim for the San Diego Padres this year. In short, he maximized Kim’s strengths. With Melvin’s faith in him, Kim made the leap to the starting infield and showed great improvement in his offense this year.
“Melvin is the man who helped Kim make a big contribution to San Diego,” said NBC Sports Bay Area, “and Kim’s success over the past two years is one of the reasons why San Francisco is considering Lee as a solution in the middle infield.” In other words, Melvin’s appointment could be the catalyst to sign Lee.
Above all, the size of Lee Jung-hoo’s contract, which was estimated by ‘CBS Sports’, is truly unconventional. “Lee will sign a six-year, $90 million (approximately $118 billion) contract with San Francisco, with the right to exercise an opt-out after four years,” CBS Sports predicted.
That’s a whopping $100 million. 90 million dollars is nearly 120 billion won in Korean won. It’s also the same amount that Japanese left fielder Masataka Yoshida of the Boston Red Sox signed with Boston. Yoshida signed a five-year, $90 million deal with Boston ahead of this season. Yoshida was a member of Team Japan at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March, where he took advantage of Munetaka Murakami’s slump to take over the No. 4 spot. In his major league debut with Boston this year, Yoshida established himself as a regular outfielder, batting .289 with a .338 on-base percentage and .445 slugging percentage, along with 15 home runs, 72 RBIs and eight doubles.
The outlet also added that Lee is expected to be given an opt-out right. An opt-out is a player’s right to declare himself a free agent rather than forfeit the remaining years of his contract. It has become a trend for athletes signing long-term contracts to include opt-out rights in their contracts.
In addition to Lee’s move to San Francisco, CBS Sports predicted that “Shohei Ohtani will leave the Los Angeles Angels for the Los Angeles Dodgers,” and even gave a specific dollar amount, stating that “Ohtani will sign a 13-year, $500 million contract with the Dodgers”.
“The San Diego Padres will trade Juan Soto to the New York Yankees,” predicting that “a package consisting of Yankees right-hander Michael King and top pitching prospect Drew Storen will head to San Diego,” while “Yamamoto will sign with the New York Mets,” predicting that Yamamoto will sign an eight-year, $220 million deal with the Mets.
“Cody Bellinger will return to the Chicago Cubs,” “The St. Louis Cardinals will add two top starting pitchers in free agency and trades,” and “Joey Votto will head to his hometown Toronto Blue Jays,” according to CBS Sports, “The Baltimore Orioles will spend $50 million or less in free agency,” “Free agent starters Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery and Eduardo Rodriguez will re-sign with their original teams,” and “The Houston Astros will hire Brad Asmus as manager.
We’re curious to see if Lee’s meeting with San Francisco will actually happen. The amount of money that each media outlet is predicting for the contract is also increasing, so it’s interesting to see what kind of contract Lee will sign.