SF President also acknowledged Lee Jung-hoo’s interest directly… “Make a lot of effort after Lee Jung-hoo” offers a big offer
Major League Baseball scouts have been watching Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom) for a long time. Team seniors Kang Jeong-ho and Kim Hae-sung, who had previously reached the major leagues, also attracted the attention of many scouts, but Lee was more than that. It’s not an exaggeration to say that almost all 30 major league clubs have written scouting reports on Lee.토토사이트
The scouting reports were different from other players for a reason. The success of Ryu Hyun-jin and Kang Jeong-ho, who went straight from the KBO to the major leagues, changed the way the major leagues looked at the KBO. Both teams began sending scouts to Korea to observe the league’s top players. In the case of the seniors who went to the major leagues before, reports were accumulated from their prime, but in Lee’s case, reports were written from his debut. This means that they watched every step of his development.
After the Korean Series, Lee is expected to try to enter the major leagues through the posting system (closed competitive bidding). He is currently attracting the attention of many clubs. The local media is also excited. Most outlets are ranking Lee in the top 10 of the 2023-2024 Major League Baseball free agent rankings. Some even have him in their top 10. The outfielder is solidifying as the No. 2 outfielder behind Cody Bellinger.
The most interested club in this situation is San Francisco, one of the most prestigious clubs in Major League Baseball. The Giants, who recently fired manager Gabe Kepler after two years of underperformance, have made a strong statement about their intentions for next year by hiring veteran manager Bob Melvin. As you can see from the hiring, San Francisco’s current mentality is more of a win-now mentality. The general consensus is that the team will make the necessary signings to support that direction.
San Francisco, which has been linked to top players such as Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, is one of the few clubs to publicly express interest in signing Lee Jung-hoo. Lee suffered an ankle injury in July of this year that effectively ended his season. He returned at the end of the season, but only to say goodbye to the fans of his hometown team Kiwoom, where he has played since his debut. Not surprisingly, major league scouts reportedly pulled back.
However, San Francisco was so determined that even at the end of the season, general manager Pete Putilla personally traveled to Gocheok Dome to watch Lee. They kept an eye on Lee until the last minute. The fact that a general manager traveled to Korea to watch him shows that the final decision was serious and positive.
‘NBC Sports Bay Area’ reported on the 8th (Korea time) that San Francisco will definitely enter the race to sign Lee Jung-hoo. ‘NBC Sports Bay Area’ reported that ‘several Giants officials traveled to South Korea this summer to see the outfielder, and general manager Pete Putilla traveled to attend (Lee’s) final game with the Kiwoom Heroes,’ and ‘the front office spent months closely monitoring Yamamoto and Lee,’ acknowledging the unusual interest.
Farhan Zaidi, president of baseball operations for San Francisco, also acknowledged the interest in Lee. “We put a lot of effort into him,” Zaidi told NBC Sports Bay Area, “We’ve been there many times. He missed a lot of time in the second half with injuries, but we expect him to come back healthy,” Zaidi said, confirming the club’s interest in Lee.
According to NBC Sports Bay Area, “Lee seems like the ideal starting center fielder in the team’s philosophy. He’s drawn 49 walks this season while striking out 23. ‘He probably has the best hand-eye coordination in the history of the KBO,’ said a longtime KBO official, ‘and those familiar with him believe his power will only get better,’ the source added.
‘NBC Sports Bay Area’ also reported that ‘San Francisco intended to make Lee one of their top targets long before they fired Gabe Kepler, and their choice of a new manager makes that pursuit even more logical. Bob Melvin helped Kim make a big contribution in San Diego, and San Francisco sees many similarities. Kim’s success over the past two seasons is one of the reasons the Giants are considering Lee as a potential solution in center field,” analyzed the current situation.
“Boston’s surprise signing of outfielder Masataka Yoshida for $90 million last offseason is a reminder that just one team bidding on a player can produce surprising results,” said NBC Sports Bay Area, adding that “whatever happens with this year’s top free agents, the Giants could keep pace if they wanted to.” If the Giants become a big player, the value of Lee and other top free agents could rise accordingly.
Jim Borden, who served as a general manager in Washington and Cincinnati and is currently a columnist for The Athletic, a North American sports publication, also pointed to San Francisco as a possible destination for Lee on July 7. He also predicted that Lee would be the fourth-biggest signing for the Giants after Shohei Ohtani, Cody Bellinger, and Matt Chapman. In addition to his skill, Lee’s youth (he’ll be 26 next year) is a big draw. Naturally, the contract will be longer and the total amount will be higher.
The Giants are currently in need of infield or outfield reinforcements. The same goes for left field reinforcements. Lee Jung-hoo, who is unproven in the major leagues but has plenty of potential, is an attractive option. The fact that Melvin knows and works so well with Asian players, and that this is the team that has been following Lee the most closely over the years, adds to the puzzle. Will San Francisco be able to convince Lee to wear their colors?