Outfielder Lee Jung-hoo, who is knocking on the door of the big leagues through the posting system (sealed competitive bidding), was ranked 16th in free agency.
The Athletic, an American sports publication, released its “Top 40 Free Agents” for Major League Baseball (MLB) this winter on Nov. 8 (KST). Athletic writers Keith Law, Tim Britton, Aaron Gleeman, Eno Sarris, and Jim Borden ranked the players individually and then combined the numbers to reveal their rankings.
The top spot goes to Shohei Ohtani, the “superstar” who has been roaming the free agent market as expected. He was followed by pitcher Aaron Nola, who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, and “Japanese right-handed ace” Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who has made his presence known to many scouts, was ranked third overall.
Lee’s ranking is 16th overall, behind only Cody Bellinger (No. 4) when narrowed down to outfielders. Among The Athletic’s writers, Keith Law and Tim Britton ranked Lee 10th and 13th, respectively, while Aaron Gleeman (17th) and Eno Saris (15th) also gave him high marks. Jim Borden, who was relatively harsher on Lee than the other four, ranked him 37th.
“In a free-agent market full of 30-something corner outfielders, the 25-year-old Lee stands out because he can play center field, and if teams can’t land Bellinger, he could be their next target,” said The Athletic.
“Lee, who won the KBO League MVP in 2022 with the Kiwoom Heroes, had a tough season this year with a fractured ankle, but over the past three seasons he has posted an OPS around 32% above league average, which is similar to Kang Jeong-ho’s pre-big league numbers. It’s even better than Ha-Sung Kim’s performance before he went to the majors.” “He hit 23 home runs last season, but only had one season with double-digit home runs,” he added.레모나토토 주소
Lee has received a lot of interest from teams looking to bolster their outfield. The San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, and San Diego Padres, among others, have emerged as possible suitors for the outfielder, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Yankees for two outfielders, Juan Soto and Trent Grisham.
Mark Finesand of MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, reported on July 7, “San Diego saves more than $30 million per year by sending Soto away. The team now has only Fernando Tatis Jr. left as a starting-caliber outfielder. He is at the top of San Diego’s list of targets, and a deal could be done quickly,” Lee reported.
The Toronto Blue Jays are also among the potential suitors. ESPN reported on Aug. 8 that Toronto could make a move for Lee if Ohtani stays with the Angels. “The competition for Lee is becoming increasingly fierce. “The talented outfielder is an unquestioned center fielder who will likely get a deal that surpasses Masataka Yoshida’s five-year, $90 million deal with Boston last year. He can platoon with Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the top of the order. Toronto would be an even better team if they were to acquire him.”
Meanwhile, “Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin, who is also looking for a new team, was ranked 36th in the free agent rankings. Sarris ranked him 27th, while Borden and Britton ranked him 35th and 36th, respectively. Keith Law and Aaron Gleeman did not include Ryu in their top 40 lists.
After leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of the 2019 season and spending four years with Toronto starting in 2020, Ryu became a “free agent” when his contract expired, and he is currently debating whether to stay in the United States or return to the KBO. In the U.S., teams looking to bolster their starting rotation, especially those in need of a fourth or fifth starter, believe Ryu would be a great addition.
“Given Ryu’s long injury history, he could be effective into his mid-30s, and at age 37, he’ll likely be the back of a contender’s starting rotation as a free agent on a short-term deal,” said The Athletic. “Last season, Ryu’s average fastball velocity was 88.6 mph, the lowest of all starting pitchers, but he never touched 90 mph even at his healthiest. He’s been on a nice roll, throwing aggressively into the strike zone and attacking right-handers with his changeup and fastball, but it’s unclear if he’ll continue that upward trajectory going forward.”