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“Toronto-Cubs-SD also lost after Lee Jeong-hu” It was inevitable

The report that 20 teams showed interest was not ‘fake news.’

In an article titled 'Yankees' outfield is unstable' on the 24th of last month (Korean time), New York Post columnist John Heyman said, 'The New York Yankees are seeking information about 25-year-old KBO star center fielder Lee Jung-hoo. However, it was reported that 20 teams entered the race to recruit Lee Jeong-hoo.

20 teams also selected Shohei Ohtani (10-year, $700 million contract with the LA Dodgers), who was considered the top player in the major league free agent market, Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is in negotiations for posting, Blake Snell, this year's Cy Young Award winner, and Cody Bellinger, the largest free agent fielder. There were no local reports of this expression of interest.

Agent Scott Boras may have leaked false information to Heyman, but the evaluation of Lee Jung-hoo was actually trending in a positive direction even during this season. What makes Lee Jung-hoo attractive to major league clubs is that his price is cheap compared to his skills.

Local media mostly presented the expected contract size of Lee Jung-hoo, who has a sophisticated hitting and stable defense that can be used in the major leagues, at around $50 million to $60 million. It was at a level that any decent club could easily offer.

Boras told the New York Post while attending a meeting of major league general managers early last month, “The evaluation factor regarding Lee Jung-hoo is his ability to hit the ball. However, a more attractive factor is his strikeout rate (K%), which is only around 5%.” “Power, speed, and top-level defense show what kind of player he is. Such a low strikeout rate (K%) and ability to control the strike zone are attracting a lot of attention,” he said.

In this situation, teams in need of a sophisticated left-handed hitting outfielder would have contacted Boras and considered the price. And after the Major League Winter Meetings ended on the 7th and Otani Market closed, it was reported that four teams made final offers for Lee Jeong-hoo.

USA Today reporter Bob Nightingale reported on the 13th, 'The Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, and San Diego Padres all aggressively rushed toward Lee Jung-hoo, but in the end, San Francisco emerged the winner by offering a six-year, $113 million contract.' In other words, four teams, including San Francisco, competed fiercely for Lee Jeong-hoo.

After the winter meeting, local media predicted that 'the contract size could soar to more than $90 million as the competition between clubs interested in Lee Jung-hoo heats up.'

San Diego, with two empty outfield spots by trading Juan Soto and Trent Grisham to the New York Yankees, made a desperate move. In addition, it was reported that the Cubs also went all-in on Lee Jeong-hu immediately after losing Ohtani. Local media outlet Clutch Points said, 'The Cubs made a strong offer for Lee Jung-hoo, but lost when San Francisco demanded $113 million.'

Prices follow the law of supply and demand. In a situation where four teams were competing for one player, an offer of $100 million would have been inevitable. The competition was decided as San Francisco offered a card worth over $110 million. In particular, San Diego was unable to compete with San Francisco for betting over $100 million because reinforcing its starting lineup was a more important task.

However, it appears that San Francisco is also interested in Bellinger, another free agent, and is even participating in actual betting. Reporter Nightingale said, 'These four teams, including the Giants, are turning their radar to center fielder and first baseman Cody Bellinger.'

What is interesting is that these four teams also participated in the recruitment of Shohei Ohtani before Jeong-hoo Lee. In particular, Toronto is known to have offered more than $650 million. San Francisco is also believed to have offered more than $500 million for Ohtani, and with that money, it is expected that they will be able to go all-in on bringing in Bellinger in addition to Lee Jung-hoo.
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Tuesday, December 12, 2023
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