This is what Lee Jung-hoo (26, San Francisco Giants), an outfielder who succeeded in entering the U.S. Major League this winter, left to his former team Kiwoom Heroes. Lee Jung-hoo successfully signed a six-year, 113 million-dollar contract with San Francisco last month. The amount far exceeded the highest five-year, 90 million-dollar contract ever held by Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida of the Boston Red Sox.헤라카지노
Thanks to Lee Jung-hoo, Kiwoom earned a lot of money. As Lee Jung-hoo enters the Major League through the posting system, San Francisco has to pay Kiwoom $18.825 million (about 24.7 billion won) in posting fees in accordance with the regulations. Kiwoom has been sitting on the cash cow thanks to the discovery and preoccupation of world-class player Lee Jung-hoo. When Kim Ha-sung (29, San Diego Padres), Park Byung-ho (38, kt Wiz), and Kang Jung-ho (37, retirement) advanced to the Major League before Lee Jung-hoo, Kiwoom collected quite a lot of posting fees. Kiwoom earned $42,02,2015 (about 55.4 billion won) from the four players above.
Lee Jung-hoo confirmed the huge amount of posting costs and asked Kiwoom, “I want you to spend more for the players. I hope you will provide more support.” The meaning of the support may vary, but you can think of strengthening your power, including recruiting FA, salary treatment, and support for facilities and equipment.
For now, Kiwoom is not spending any money in the FA market. Rather, it made money. Pitcher Lim Chang-min (39) and catcher Lee Ji-young (38) were the only two in the FA market. Both players are experienced veterans and showed good performances last year, but they did not match Kiwoom’s development stance. Kiwoom boldly gave up contracts with the two players, while Lim Chang-min and Lee Ji-young built a new nest at the Samsung Lions and SSG Landers. Lim Chang-min, a C-rated FA, left Kiwoom with 150 million won (150 percent of last year’s annual salary) for compensation, while Lee Ji-young transferred through sign-and-trade and presented Kiwoom with 250 million won (250 million won) in cash and a third-round pick in the 2025 rookie draft. Leaving the two FA players, Lee earned a total of 400 million won (420,000 dollars) in cash and one rookie nomination ticket.
Teams focused on the future and development are clearly showing their colors. For now, they have collected additional rookie nominations. Kiwoom has selected a whopping 14 rookies in the 2024 rookie draft. Each team is given the right to nominate candidates from round 1 to 11 in the all-out draft, and Kiwoom has secured three more rookie nominations only through trade compensation. When the team gave up catcher Joo Hyo-sang to the KIA Tigers in November 2022, it has acquired the right to nominate the rookie in 2024 and infielder Lee Won-seok and the third-round pick in 2024, when it gave up pitcher Kim Tae-hoon to the Samsung Lions in April last year. In July last year, it gave up starting pitcher Choi Won-tae to the LG Twins, who tried hard to win, and received promising players Lee Ju-hyung and Kim Dong-gyu, and the right to nominate the rookie in the first round in 2024.
Kiwoom’s three trades resulted in massive recruitment of six pitchers, two from round 1 to round 3 of the 2024 Rookie Draft. Kiwoom nominated pitchers Jeon Joon-pyo and Kim Yoon-ha in the first round, infielders Lee Jae-sang and Son Hyun-ki in the second round, and pitchers Lee Woo-hyun and Kim Yeon-joo in the third round. For now, Kiwoom chose to invest more in their future.
Kiwoom ranked 10th with 58 wins, 83 losses and three draws last year, but it cannot be solely blamed for its strategy focused on fostering the team. Now, other teams are also recognizing Kiwoom’s strategy. Kiwoom has so many opportunities for rookie players, as no team member has played one position for more than 10 years. Moreover, they have a good eye for picking out the starting stones. If promising players show a little performance, they will have an easier chance to play in the first division than other teams. This includes infielder Kim Hye-sung and pitcher Ahn Woo-jin, who are considered the next major leaguers along with Lee Jung-hoo. Kim Hye-sung won the second baseman Golden Glove for two consecutive years from 2022, while Ahn Woo-jin became the undisputed first starting pitcher to push out foreign pitchers from Kiwoom from 2022, the 23-year-old season. Ahn Woo-jin won the Golden Glove award in 2022 by beating all of the foreign ace pitchers in the league. This is why Kiwoom’s strategy to put more weight on the future cannot be criticized.
Of course, the cost-effectiveness is also good. Kiwoom ranked 10th with 6.452 billion won in the total amount of the top 40 players’ annual salaries in 2023. Compared to the upper limit of 11.426 billion won for salary cap, it saved a whopping 4.97438 billion won. Six clubs including Doosan, SSG, LG, Lotte, Samsung and NC exceeded 10 billion won, while ninth-ranked Hanwha also recorded 8.53 billion won. This may be the background of Lee Jung-hoo’s request to “spend more for the players.” Except for a few of the main players, most of them are young players with lower years of experience, so we cannot raise the total annual salary if we raise it further.
Kiwoom does not seem to be in a hurry where veteran players are missing. The catcher will likely put Kim Dong-heon, who is 20 this year, as he did last year. If other teams follow Kiwoom’s strategy so far, it is highly likely that Kim Dong-heon will be the starting pitcher, regardless of who he will recruit as a backup. It is up to the player to bear the burden. Cho Sang-woo, who saved 82 saves as a closer in the past, returned from military service in the bullpen. Lee Ju-hyung, who was brought in from LG, has already been called the “second Lee Jung-hoo” since last year. Lee Ju-hyung proved why LG fans spent his 51 games in Kiwoom last year in tears by hitting 0.330 (66 hits in 200 at-bats), six homers, 34 RBIs and 0.911 OPS.
Kiwoom is calm even if Lee Jung-hoo is missing. They have found a replacement in the way they have done, and they have also laid the groundwork for young players to compete indefinitely.