LG Twins closer Ko Woo-seok (26) will head to the San Diego Padres as his teammate Kim Ha-sung (29). He will also have a head-to-head match with his brother-in-law and friend Lee Jung-hoo (26) of the San Francisco Giants as a rival team player.헤라카지노
Ko Woo-suk’s agency Ricosport announced on the 4th that “Ko Woo-suk has officially signed with San Diego after completing medical tests,” attaching a press release from the San Diego club. According to the report, Ko has signed a two-year contract with San Diego, and the 2026 season can be extended through an agreement between the player and the club (The San Diego Padres has signed right-handed reliever Woo-Suk Go to a two-year contract with an automatic option for 2026).
Earlier, Joel Sherman of the New York Post, a U.S. media outlet, reported on his SNS at around 7:06 a.m. that “San Diego signed a two-year $4.5 million (about 5.9 billion won) contract with Ko Woo-suk.”
It is a “buzzer beater” contract announced just after Ko Woo-suk’s deadline for posting to the Major League. The Major League Baseball secretariat announced the news of Ko Woo-suk’s posting to 30 major league clubs on the 5th of last month, and all contracts should have been completed at 7 a.m. on January 4th, Korean time. Earlier on the afternoon of the 3rd, the news came out through MLB Network’s John Hayman that the contract between Ko Woo-suk and San Diego was imminent, and by this time, Ko had already boarded a plane to the United States.
On the same day, at 2 p.m. on the 3rd, LG said, “Ko received an offer from a Major League club in accordance with the posting process of the U.S. Major League Baseball. LG decided to send the offer to the Major League team that sent the offer out of respect for the player’s intention. Ko left for the U.S. today (on the 3rd) to proceed with the contract including a medical test.”
The size of the contract was also confirmed at 4.5 million dollars for two years, making him the lowest-performing player in the Major League challenge through the posting system. Although it is the smallest in size, it is meaningful because it is the first time for a professional bullpen pitcher to directly move from the KBO League to the Major League. According to KBO baseball regulations, LG, the original team, will receive 900,000 dollars, or 20 percent of the down payment, if the contract amount is less than 25 million dollars.
The process of Ko Woo-suk joining the Major League was never easy. It started when the Major League Secretariat asked the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) for an identification check on Ko Woo-suk on November 14 last year. Unlike Lee Jung-hoo, who received an identification check together, Ko Woo-seok was unexpected. Lee Jung-hoo had prior communication and approval with the Kiwoom Heroes team for the major league challenge ahead of the 2023 season, but Ko Woo-seok did not talk about it in detail. Eventually, on November 22 last year, LG cheered for the player’s challenge by saying, “We have decided to allow Ko Woo-suk to challenge for posting to the Major League, and we have decided to make a final decision with the player after the posting amount is released in the future.”
Even in Korea, however, the sudden news was not a hot topic of conversation in the U.S. Unlike the Japanese professional baseball league, which has a posting period of 45 days, players in the KBO League only had 30 days to sign a contract, and Ko Woo-suk’s story was rarely mentioned.
It was also bad news that mega FA players such as Shohei Ohtani (30) and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (26) of the Los Angeles Dodgers coincided with their transfers. As Ohtani signed 10-year, 700 million-dollar contracts with the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 10 and 12-year, 325 million dollars on April 28, other FA markets also opened their breath. The contract of his brother-in-law Lee Jung-hoo was one of them. Lee arrived in the U.S. stage one step ahead when he signed a six-year, 113 million-dollar contract with San Francisco on April 15.
Some teams were interested in Ko. High interest in Asian players, including Ohtani, Yamamoto, and Lee Jung-hoo, contributed to Ko’s contract being delayed, but there was also a positive side to it. Ko gradually increased his reputation as he was mentioned as one of the five Asian players who are moving to the Major League this offseason. Baseball America, a U.S. baseball media outlet, said, “Ko is a right-handed pitcher with a powerful stuffing,” adding, “His fastball is formed at 93 to 95 miles per hour (about 149.7 to 152.9 kilometers). He sprays fastballs up to 98 miles per hour. He tends to lack deception in his pitching movements. Sometimes he throws flat fastballs. Still, he can only deal with batters with his pure pitching power.”
The most representative team was the St. Louis Cardinals, where Kim Kwang-hyun (36, SSG Landers) and Oh Seung-hwan (42) played. On MLB.com , Jeff Jones, who is in charge of the St. Louis Cardinals, said through the U.S. media Beleville News-Democrats ahead of the winter meeting, “The St. Louis Cardinals will add a bullpen option in the FA,” adding, “Japan left-hander Yuki Matsui and Korea’s right-hander Ko Woo-seok are on their recruiting list.” After the news, Ko Woo-suk’s name was consistently mentioned as the next closing candidate on the St. Louis-related fan site.
When the news of the contract with the San Diego Padres was heard on Sunday, St. Louis Today said, “The St. Louis Cardinals, which failed to recruit Yuki Matsui (San Diego), are still interested in right-handed bullpen resources such as Jordan Hicks. Ko Woo-suk also drew attention from the St. Louis Cardinals.