The free agency (FA) market is literally a living thing. Teams enter the market with a plan, but things change. The same goes for players and agencies. Before a contract is signed, last-minute tweaks are made, or players change their destination at the last minute.
For Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom), who will try his hand at the major leagues through the posting system (closed competitive bidding) at the end of this season, it will be a breathtaking race underwater. Major League Baseball clubs have been watching Lee’s talent since he debuted in the KBO and have followed his progress. Some teams are said to have closely monitored his behavior in the clubhouse and even his personal life.
In other words, the spying is over. The teams have finalized their evaluations of Lee. It’s up to the clubs to decide how much he’s worth, and they’ll be placing their bets as we go to press. It’s clear that the market is in Lee’s favor. However, this race could be quite complicated. We also have to look at the state of the Major League Baseball market after this season.
Teams have a set budget, and how much they spend on a player can change depending on the situation. If a player turns out to be more expensive than they thought, they might back out, or they might spend the money on a player they had in mind. This year, we had a unique situation. Shohei Ohtani (29, Los Angeles Angels), who is expected to make major league contract history, is on the market. All eyes are on Ohtani.
Although he recently tore a ligament in his elbow and won’t be pitching for the foreseeable future, his bat alone is worth a lot of money. Right now, he leads the American League in home runs and is first in OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage). If he has the surgery, he could be a pitcher again after 2025. The general consensus in the local media is that a total of $500 million or more is possible.
There are only a limited number of teams that can jump into the race for Ohtani. Even if they don’t, they should be able to spend at least $400-500 million in total. Most of the 30 teams will be eliminated. It’s a feast for some big-market teams. Only six teams made the cut in the projections of John Heyman, a columnist for Major League Baseball Network and the New York Post, and a leading source in Major League Baseball. Other than that, they’re either out of the running or taking a wait-and-see approach.
Ohtani’s value remains strong despite his elbow injury.
There are a limited number of teams that could be interested in Ohtani, but the market ripple effect is huge.
The list of potential teams released by Heyman on May 5 (KST) included the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were the most likely destination, as well as San Diego, the Chicago Cubs, Texas, San Francisco, and Boston. Notably absent are the New York Yankees, the richest team in Major League Baseball, and Ohtani’s current team, the Los Angeles Angels.
We don’t know which of these teams will actually make an offer for Ohtani. However, there is some overlap with the Jung-Hoo Lee market. That’s because some of the teams that have shown the most interest in Lee are on the Heyman list. San Diego, the Cubs, and San Francisco have been monitoring Lee quite closely. Some speculate that these three teams could be the most likely candidates.
In other words, it’s possible that these teams are waiting to see how the Otani market goes before they look at Lee. There’s also the timing. Major League Baseball’s free agency market opens after the World Series. It starts roughly in early November. We’ll likely start posting a little later than that. This is a pretty generous window, so it’s likely that Lee’s camp will take a cautious approach.메이저놀이터
The time is expected to come when Otani is out of the market and the next big fish are out. There is a consensus that there are not as many outfielders on the market this year who can hit, run, and play defense. This is the time when Lee’s value can be evaluated relatively higher. I’m looking forward to seeing how the market works for Lee.