“Miner League veto is meaningless, put an opt-out.” GG Award-winning Kim Ha-sung, Lee Jung-hoo, realistic advice for ML challenge
San Diego Padres’ Kim Ha-seong (28) has some heartfelt advice for Kiwoom Heroes junior Lee Jung-hoo (25) as he prepares to enter the major leagues.
Kim, who joined Kiwoom in 2014 and played in the KBO through 2020, batted .866 with 133 home runs, 575 RBIs, 606 runs scored, 134 doubles and an OPS of .866 in 891 games (3,195 hits, 940 at-bats), signed a four-year, $28 million contract with San Diego to fulfill his dream of playing in the majors. After struggling a bit in his first season in the majors, Kim established himself as San Diego’s starting shortstop last year.레모나토토 주소
After being pushed to second base when the Padres signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million deal last winter, Kim had his best season yet, batting .538 (17-for-140) with 17 home runs, 60 RBIs, 84 runs scored, 38 stolen bases and a .749 OPS in 52 games. His defense was also top-notch, playing 106 games (856⅔ innings) at second base, 32 games (253⅓ innings) at third base, and 20 games (153⅓ innings) at shortstop, and he became the first Korean player to win the National League Gold Glove in the utility category.
At the Gold Glove award press conference held at Hotel Rivera in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul on the 20th, Kim said, “I am honored to be the first Korean to receive the Gold Glove. I feel fortunate that I have inspired many youth players and players in the professional baseball league. I am walking on the path that my seniors paved. I think I should do well so that my juniors can also run on a better road,” he said after receiving the award.
Lee Jung-hoo, who played alongside Kim Ha-seong in Kiwoom, is set to enter the major leagues through a winter posting this year. Lee is considered one of the best hitters in Korea, with a career batting average of .344 (3476-for-1181), 65 home runs, 515 RBIs, and an OPS of .898 in 884 KBO games. He has also been well-received by Major League Baseball, and there are speculations that he could surpass Kim Ha-seong and Ryu Hyun-jin ($36 million over six years in 2013) as the highest contract for a Korean player in his debut season.
When asked if he had any advice for younger players trying to make it to the major leagues, Kim said, “It’s natural for young people to be good at baseball to get to the major leagues. I hope they learn English at a young age. Communication is really important. I never thought I would go to the major leagues, so I didn’t study English at all, and I’m still struggling with it. Jung-hoo and (Go) Woo-seok are great players. I know they don’t speak English very well either. I hope they start studying now. In the major leagues, we have to work harder because we are strangers. Then they will come to us first.”
Lee Jung-hoo also said in an interview during the season, “I’m studying English a little bit. But I have to do it every day, but I seem to forget one day after another. The seniors all told me that I have to learn English eventually. I think I need to study harder,” and revealed that he is preparing by learning English.
Kim, who completed his third season in the major leagues, also spoke about his major league contract, saying, “I gave a lot of advice to (Lee) Jung-hoo about the minor league veto. I don’t think it’s meaningful. I didn’t go down to the minors even though I didn’t make it the first year. Even in the major leagues, it’s hard to go down to the minor leagues once you get some salary, so the minor league veto doesn’t mean much,” he said.
Among the players who made it to the major leagues from the KBO, there were also players who considered it important to secure minor league veto rights. Yoon Seok-min, Park Byung-ho (KT), Yang Hyun-jong (KIA), and others have returned to Korea after being sent down to the minors and not receiving many opportunities in the major leagues.
“When I was coming up, there were some seniors who went to the minor leagues, so I thought, ‘If I go to the minor leagues, I’ll be in trouble,’ so I was a little bit obsessed,” Kim said, adding, “I think it’s better to have an opt-out rather than a minor league veto because I think if Jung-hoo goes to the U.S., he won’t go for less money.”
Lee Jung-hoo is being talked about as much as a $50 million contract in local media in the United States. Even in Major League Baseball, that’s not a small contract. While the average annual salary may vary depending on the length of the contract, a $50 million contract would likely make the minor league veto irrelevant. In fact, Kim thinks it might be more beneficial for Lee to have an opt-out clause that allows him to try for a big contract right away if he’s up to speed in the majors.
Lee’s progression to the major leagues will be a point of interest for many Korean baseball fans this winter. Fans are eager to see what kind of contract Lee will sign in the United States.