‘Explosion of popularity’ Lee Jeong-hoo, are the Dodgers not interested?
As the Major League offseason begins in earnest, local media frequently mentions the name of ‘genius hitter’ Lee Jeong-hoo (25, Kiwoom Heroes).
The local media’s interest in Lee Jeong-hoo is surprising. Already, Lee Jeong-hoo’s specific ransom is being predicted, and several clubs are emerging as expected destinations.
The team that appears to be the most likely destination so far is the San Francisco Giants. The team is in need of reinforcements in center field, and San Francisco general manager Pete Putilla already showed active interest by visiting Korea last month and watching Lee Jeong-hoo’s last home game at Kiwoom. Farhan Zaidi, president of San Francisco’s baseball division, is not hiding his interest in Lee Jung-hoo, saying in an interview with ‘NBC Sports Bay Area’, “Our club put a lot of effort into Lee Jung-hoo.”
The San Diego Padres, where Kim Ha-seong plays, are also emerging as a strong candidate. San Diego is trying to ‘downsize’ as it failed to advance to the postseason despite completing its ultra-luxurious team this year. There are ongoing trade rumors regarding Juan Soto, whose annual salary is expected to exceed $30 million next year. If San Diego sends Soto out, they will need to fill an outfield spot, and Lee Jung-hoo is emerging as an alternative. Recently, the ‘East Village Times’ reported a San Diego team official saying, “We are interested in Lee Jung-hoo. He is a talented player. He is already being discussed internally.”
The New York Yankees, a prestigious team with a major league tradition, is also a team that is likely to flirt with Lee Jung-hoo. Recently, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, “Our team will recruit two left-handed outfielders.”
Cody Bellinger is considered to be the biggest free agent outfielder this year. Bellinger made a spectacular comeback while playing for the Chicago Cubs this season, hitting .307 with 26 home runs, 97 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. Like Lee Jeong-hoo, a player whose main position is center field. He is expected to sign a contract worth at least $100 million. If the team misses Bellinger, Lee Jung-hoo could be an alternative.
Here, ‘Devil’s Agent’ Scott Boras also opened the door to Lee Jung-hoo’s sales. Boras said of Lee Jung-hoo at a recent press conference, “Close to half of the league’s teams have contacted us. Lee Jung-hoo is a player with good defense and power enough to deserve a premium in center field. Lee Jung-hoo will bring K-pop to the major leagues.” “I think he is a player,” he said. This means that several clubs are already showing keen interest.
The LA Dodgers are also considered one of the teams in need of outfield reinforcement. However, it seems like there is a separate outfielder that the Dodgers are obsessed with. Jorge Castillo of the ‘LA Times’ announced on his social media on the 11th (Korean time) that the Dodgers are interested in Hernández, saying, “Teoscar Hernández is on the Dodgers’ radar.”
Hernández made his major league debut with the Houston Astros in 2016, and was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays along with Japanese hitter Norichika Aoki in July 2017. Hernández, who grew into Toronto’s starting outfielder in 2018 with a batting average of .239, 22 home runs, and 57 RBIs, won the Silver Slugger title with a batting average of .289, 16 home runs, and 34 RBIs in 2020, which was played in the shortened season, and in 2021, he hit a batting average of .296, 32 home runs, and 116 RBIs. He exploded and enjoyed the joy of not only winning the Silver Slugger award for two consecutive years, but also being selected as an All-Star for the first time in his life.
Hernández, who had a batting average of .267 with 25 home runs and 77 RBIs last year, was traded to the Seattle Mariners at the end of the season and hit .258 with 26 home runs and 93 RBIs this year. His major league career records include a batting average of .261, 159 home runs, and 473 RBI. Hernández is currently on the free agent market.
On this day, the official Major League Baseball website (mlbcom) also commented on the Dodgers’ interest in Hernández, saying, “The Dodgers’ top priority may be signing Shohei Ohtani and resolving the starting rotation this offseason, but Jason Hayward and David Peralta are eligible for free agency. “We also need a corner outfielder,” said Hernández, saying that he is a player the Dodgers would be interested in 안전놀이터 .
Are the Dodgers really more interested in Hernández than Lee Jung-hoo? If Lee Jung-hoo joins the Dodgers, his adaptation to the major leagues could be easier. The Dodgers are a team with a history of Korean major leaguers, including Park Chan-ho, the first Korean major leaguer, as well as Seo Jae-eung, Choi Hee-seop, and Ryu Hyun-jin. Recently, they signed a contract with top high school prospect Jang Hyun-seok. It is a representative ‘pro-Korean’ club. Additionally, we can receive support from numerous Korean Americans living in Los Angeles. It remains to be seen what choice the Dodgers will make this time.