These are just estimates. Still, no KBO player in history has received such high-profile and high-dollar offers. Kiwoom outfielder Lee Jung-hoo (25), who was already confirmed for the big leagues a year ago, is constantly mentioned by local media in the United States.
No wonder. The 2023 World Series concluded on April 2 (KST) with Texas winning its first ever title. Five days later, on the 7th, the Major League Baseball (MLB) free agency market opens. Free agency has already been announced and contracts can be signed from the 7th.
Lee Jung-hoo will also enter the free agency market. However, he can’t sign right away. As he is entering the MLB as a posted player, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) must request the MLB office to post him. After reviewing the documents received from the KBO and Kiwoom, MLB will announce that Lee can sign with an MLB team.
In other words, he will be able to sign a free agent contract after the publication. On the 6th, a representative from Kiwoom said, “We haven’t decided when to publish the post yet. We will decide after discussing the timing with Lee Jung-hoo. The timing is still undecided.”
It is not expected to be delayed. It’s likely that he’ll start working on the post after the Korean Series at the latest. Three years ago, Kim filed a request for posting disclosure with the MLB office on November 25, 2020. Once MLB accepts your posting request, you have 30 days to sign a contract. It is likely that Lee will post at a similar time to Kim, meaning that he will follow the same path as Kim, with local media reporting his signing on December 31, 2020, and the official announcement of his contract on January 1, 2021. 아톰카지노
The expected contract is higher than the maximum five-year, $39 million deal Kim signed with San Diego three years ago. In the U.S., local media outlet The Athletic estimated Lee’s contract at four years and $56 million. Interest is high. He is ranked 16th among the top 40 free agents overall and second among free agent outfielders, behind only Cody Bellinger.
MLB teams note that Lee’s batting stats have improved year over year, much like Kim’s, and they expect him to improve with experience in the big leagues. His defense is also considered above average.
“For teams that didn’t land Bellinger, Lee could be their next target,” The Athletic wrote. The New York Yankees, San Francisco, Texas, and Washington are among the teams that could be a good fit for Lee. The Giants have been very interested in Lee all season, with the general manager personally visiting the Gotham Dome.
If Lee signs a contract worth more than $50 million, as expected, the Kiwoom club will be smiling from ear to ear. This would be the first $50 million-plus contract in South Korea since the posting rules were revised in July 2018. If Lee’s contract is indeed worth $56 million, Kiwoom will receive more than $10 million in posting fees. The MLB team that signs Lee will pay Lee’s salary, as well as the posting fee, which will be passed on to Kiwoom.
For contracts worth $50 million or more, the posting fee is 20% of the first $25 million ($5 million) + 17.5% of the next $25 million ($4.37 million) + 15% of the $50 million or more. Using $56 million as an example, this would be $1.027 million ($5 million + $4.37 million + $900,000).
That’s about $13.35 billion in Korean won. As was the case with Kang Jeong-ho ($5.15 million), Park Byung-ho ($12.85 million), and Kim Ha-sung ($5.52 million), Kium will be earning several times more than the salaries that have been paid to them in the past.
The highest amount ever posted for a Korean player is $25.737 million, paid by the Los Angeles Dodgers in January 2013 to acquire Hanwha’s Ryu Hyun-jin. At the time, it was a sealed bidding process, and the team that offered the most money won sole negotiating rights.
While it may be difficult to reach the mythical heights of Ryu Hyun-jin, it’s certainly a big boost for the Kiwoom organization. He’ll be able to give Kiwoom a lot of things, both on and off the field, like Santa before and after Christmas.