Kiwoom Heroes star Lee Jung-hoo bade farewell to his fans with a final at-bat in a home game before heading to Major League Baseball (MLB). The San Francisco Giants are among the teams expressing the most active interest in Lee, who played his final game.
In the eighth inning of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League game between Kiwoom and Samsung Lions at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Tuesday, the stadium was filled with applause and cheers from fans. Lee Jung-hoo, who had been injured this season and was unlikely to return, stepped up to bat in the final at-bat of the home game as a substitute. Lee took off his helmet and thanked the home fans from the bottom of his heart.
It was his first at-bat in 80 days since he resigned against the Lotte Giants on July 22. He requested a substitution while fielding at the time, and ended up on the operating table with a left ankle ligament injury. He needed more than three months to recover and rehabilitate, effectively ending his season. He was included in the roster for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, but was unable to compete.
He made a quick recovery after his surgery and was named to the first team roster on the 3rd. He worked hard to play in his final game at home and played one at-bat as a substitute, giving Kiwoom fans a beautiful farewell.
The parting of the ways between Lee and Kiwoom was expected. Before the season started, Lee announced his intention to try out for the major leagues through the posting system (closed competitive bidding), and Kiwoom accepted. Now, Lee’s major league time is here. Already, scouts from many major league teams have been spotted at the Gochuk SkyDome this season.
With his outstanding performance in all areas of the game, offense, defense, and running, Lee has attracted the attention of major league teams. In seven seasons in the KBO, Lee has an impressive .340 batting average, .407 on-base percentage, .455 slugging percentage, 1,181 hits, 65 home runs, 515 RBIs, and an OPS of .898. The lack of big-name free agents this MLB offseason makes Lee’s move all the more exciting.
The team that has expressed the most interest is San Francisco. The Giants have been visiting Kiwoom’s spring training camp since the beginning of the year and have been taking video of Lee. Recently, San Francisco President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi told NBC Sports Bay Area that the team is “continuing to work on signing Lee and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.” San Francisco general manager Pete Putilla traveled to the Gauchuck SkyDome on Tuesday to see Lee and gave him a standing ovation after his final at-bat.
SI’s Giants Insider also wrote, “Lee’s contact ability is highly regarded. “The Giants have had issues with contact this season,” said SI Insider, “and he’s more of the type of player general manager Farhan Zaidi is aiming for. With Michael Conforto set to become a free agent, the team will need to add depth in the outfield.” “Jung-Hoo Lee is a free agent who could help bolster San Francisco’s outfield on both sides of the ball,” said The Athletic.
Kim’s former teammate in Kiwoom, the San Diego Padres, are also interested in Lee. “The Padres also believe they have an advantage because he was teammates with Kim,” CBS Sports reported. “He’s not a typical home run hitter,” he said, “and he’ll need to 바카라사이트 make a full recovery from his injury in order to be a presence on defense and at the plate.” “Kim’s recent success as a hitter should give major league clubs some peace of mind in that regard.”
At the age of 25, the grandson of the wind has dominated the KBO. Now, the major league challenge is just around the corner, and fans are eager to see which major league team will accept his challenge.