ML contract first read’ Lee Jung-hoo, Kiwoom’s 4th major leaguer

With the publication of Kiwoom Heroes Lee Jung-hoo’s (25) post, the birth of Kiwoom’s fourth major leaguer is now in sight.

On December 4, Kiwoom announced, “Lee Jung-hoo’s major league posting notice will be made on December 4 (US Eastern Time). Accordingly, from the day after the posting notice, we will enter into full-scale negotiations with 30 major league clubs who wish to sign Lee Jung-hoo for 30 days,” the company said.

Lee Jung-hoo is a franchise star who joined Kiwoom as the first overall pick in the 2017 rookie draft. In 884 career KBO games, Lee has established himself as one of the best hitters in South Korea, batting .344 (3476-for-1181) with 65 home runs, 515 RBIs and an OPS of .898.

After a career-high season last season, when he batted .349 (9-for-553) with 23 home runs, 113 RBIs and a .996 OPS in 142 games, Lee won five batting titles (batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, RBIs and runs scored) and was named league MVP. This year, he underwent surgery for an ankle injury that ended his season early, but he still managed to put together a solid 86-game season, batting 3-for-105 (330 at-bats) with six home runs, 45 RBIs, and an .861 OPS.

Kiwoom has a lot of experience in promoting players to the major leagues through posts.

Before Lee, Kang Jeong-ho, Park Byung-ho (KT), and Kim Ha-seong (San Diego) reached the major leagues, inspiring younger players to dream of a bigger stage.

Kang Jeong-ho, a giant shortstop with a career batting average of .973 with 139 home runs, 545 RBIs, and an OPS of .973 in 902 games (3070 hits, 916 runs) in the KBO, became the first player in KIUM history to reach the major leagues by posting in December 2014. He was also the first KBO player to be designated for assignment. At the time, the posting was conducted through a closed competitive bidding system, and Pittsburgh secured the right to negotiate by bidding $5 million (approx. KRW 6.5 billion) 온라인카지노 for the posting fee and signed Kang to a four-year, $11 million (approx. KRW 14.4 billion) contract. Kang showed promise in the major leagues, batting .297 with 46 home runs, 144 RBIs and a .796 OPS in 917 games, but injuries and a DUI arrest ended his career.

After reaching his full potential in Kiwoom, Park Byung-ho became one of South Korea’s leading home run hitters, batting .281 with 210 homers, 604 RBIs, and a .951 OPS in 868 games (2,748 hits, 773 runs) until 2015, when he tried out for the major leagues. Like Kang, Byung-ho Park went through a sealed competitive bidding process, which set a new record for the highest posting fee ever for a Yankee at $12.85 million. Minnesota won the right to negotiate, and Park signed a four-year, $12.2 million contract. However, Park batted just 1-for-9 with 12 home runs, 24 RBIs and an OPS of .684 in 62 games (215-for-41) in the majors, and returned to South Korea after the 2017 season after mutually agreeing to terminate his contract.

Kim has had one of the most successful careers of any major league player from Kiwoom.

In 891 career KBO games (3,195-for-940) with a .921 batting average, 133 home runs, 575 RBIs, and a .921 OPS, Kim began posting in a revamped fashion after the 2020 season. He signed a four-year, $28 million guaranteed contract with San Diego in January 2021, and Kiwoom received $5.25 million in posting money per the rules.

In 419 career games in the majors, Kim has batted .245 (1322-for-324) with 36 home runs, 153 RBIs and a .708 OPS, while also drawing attention for his stellar defense. Last year, he was a finalist for the National League Gold Glove at shortstop, and this year, after being named a finalist for both second base and utility, he won the Gold Glove for utility.

Now that he has officially entered negotiations, Lee will become Kiwoom’s fourth major leaguer. If he signs a $50 million (approx. KRW 65.3 billion) contract, as expected by American media, he could become the highest-paid pitcher in KBO history. The current record is six years and $36 million (approximately 47 billion won), which was set by Ryu Hyun-jin when he signed with the Dodgers in December 2012.

Kiwoom has a long list of players who could challenge for the major leagues after Lee.

Right now, second baseman Kim Hye-sung has announced his intention to try out for the major leagues after the season ends next year. Reliever Cho Sang-woo, who will return from military service as a social service worker on the 23rd of this month, will also be able to post if he plays next season. Ace Ahn Woo-jin, who underwent Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament splicing) last September and is scheduled to begin his military service as a social service worker on Sept. 18, is also a talent that the major leagues are eyeing and could be posted as early as 2028 after completing the season.

Following in the footsteps of Kang Jeong-ho, Park Byung-ho, and Kim Ha-seong, fans are eager to see if Lee can successfully reach the major leagues and create a wider path for younger players.

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