Lee Jung-hoo, who plans to enter the major leagues later this year via the posting system, is expected to cross the Pacific Ocean for the most expensive contract of any KBO player in history.
In an article titled “MLB Contract Predictions: How much will top free agents sign for?” on March 3 (KST), The Athletic estimated Lee’s contract at four years and $56 million. This was the first time the publication had ever given a specific price tag for Lee.
Tim Britton, who wrote the article, followed up his “Pitcher Free Agents” piece the day before with a focus on the free agents. Britton used mathematical and statistical methods to arrive at the projected contract sizes. “I analyzed the last 10 years of free agent signings and extensions, as well as previous big contracts, and linked them to the previous season’s performance, specifically Fangraphs WAR (fWAR),” he said. We plugged the prospective free agents into the existing data and calculated their salaries relative to players with similar records.
However, KBO players don’t fit into this method because they don’t have major league records. To calculate Lee’s price, Britton explained, “We used his OPS+ for the three seasons he played in the KBO before entering the major leagues and his OPS+ for the three seasons after entering the major leagues.
According to the report, Lee’s OPS+ in the three seasons prior to his major league debut was 132, ranking him fourth behind Eric Thems (147), Byung-ho Park (142), and Jung-ho Kang (135).
Themes rejoined the major leagues in 2017 after playing three seasons with the NC Dinos from 2014-2016, signing a three-year, $15 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers for a $7 million club option for 2020. Since he was a free agent, there was no posting fee.
In late 2015, Park signed a four-year, $12 million deal with the Minnesota Twins through the posting system, with a $6.5 million club option for 2020 and a $500,000 buyout. Minnesota’s bid, or the amount the Heroes paid, was $12.85 million. Jung-ho Kang signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates in late 2014. The Kiwoom received a bid of $5.15 million. 캡틴토토 주소
In other words, Lee Jung-hoo is expected to sign a major league contract at a much higher price than these three players, even after accounting for inflation, according to Britton’s analysis.
The most money a KBO player has ever received in the major leagues is $36 million over six years when Ryu Hyun-jin signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. He was followed by Kim Ha-seong with the San Diego Padres for four years and $28 million guaranteed in 2021, with a $7 million club option for 2025.
In addition to Temes, Park Byung-ho, and Kang Jeong-ho, Britton also compared the OPS+ of other KBO players such as Darin Ruff, Kim Ha-seong, and Kim Hyun-soo. “The first six produced 80 percent of their OPS+ in the KBO in their first three seasons in the majors,” Britton said. “If Lee Jung-hoo can produce 80 percent of that in the majors, he’ll have an OPS+ that is 6 percent higher than the average of those six. Add to that his defense in the middle infield, and he’s a very valuable player. Think of Dexter Fowler and Dinard Span in their prime,” he said.
Fowler hit .259 with 127 home runs and 1306 RBIs in a 14-year career from 2008-2021, while Span hit .281 with 71 home runs and 1498 RBIs in an 11-year career from 2008-2018. Both play center field.
Britton writes, “I think their value is somewhere between the $13 million Span received from the San Francisco Giants in 2016 and the $20 million Fowler received from the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017. A four-year deal at $16.5 million would be $66 million. Excluding the $10 million for postseason play, that’s $56 million for Lee. Of course, options could be added, Britton noted.
In the case of Ryu, the Dodgers’ investment over six years would be $61.79 million, including his $25.7 million tender in 2013. But a team signing Lee would spend a total of $66 million over four years.