Lee Jung-hoo (25), who is trying to make it to the Major League Baseball (MLB), is expected to receive a call from the Toronto Blue Jays, where Ryu Hyun-jin (36) played until this year.
American sports media outlet The Athletic published an article titled “13 Free Agents (FAs) Toronto Is Targeting” on the 11th (Korean time), predicting Lee’s move to Toronto.
“It is difficult to verify the skills of players who have played in leagues other than the MLB, but Lee is an excellent player,” the outlet said, explaining that “he is particularly good at making contact, rarely striking out.”
“He won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the KBO in 2022 and had a strong season this year before being sidelined by injury.”
“Toronto had four seasons with Ryu Hyun-jin, who was very popular with Korean baseball fans,” said The Athletic, adding, “Adding Lee will allow us to continue to connect with our Korean fans.”
“Jung-hoo is expected to sign a four-year contract with a total value of $56 million (approximately KRW 73.9 billion),” the outlet said.
Canadian outlet Sportsnet also reported the same day that Toronto could be in the running for Lee.
“Lee is attractive to any team in need of an outfielder,” the outlet wrote, explaining that he has “excellent contact ability and outfield defense.”
“He’s better offensively than outfielder Kevin Kiermaier (who is a free agent after the 2023 season).”
Kiermaier played in 129 games in 2023, batting .265 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs.
The outlet also highlighted Lee’s young age.
“If he develops, he could be a starter for a long time,” Sportsnet said, adding, “That’s a tough ask for an older free agent.”
Lee has been making the rounds in the US media.
ESPN ranked him as the 14th overall free agent and projected a five-year, $63 million contract, while CBS Sports projected a six-year, $90 million contract.
American clubs are very interested in Lee Jung-hoo.
“Nearly half of the league has inquired about him,” Lee’s agent, Scott Boras, told reporters at the MLB Commissioner’s Meeting on the 9th, adding that he expects Lee to bring a K-pop craze to the MLB. 안전놀이터