ESPN, a leading U.S. sports outlet, predicted the signings of major league free agents. Lee Jung-hoo and Ryu Hyun-jin were also mentioned.
ESPN presented the contract size of the top 50 free agents in its own 9-day free agent rankings.
Lee was ranked 14th. It projected a five-year, $63 million contract.
They described Lee as “a solid player who most teams would consider a starter.” While noting that he is the same age as Yoshinobu Yamamoto, they also gave a sobering assessment, saying that he is “not the type to make an impact like Yamamoto”.굿모닝토토
He categorized him as a right fielder. “He can play center field defense and hit, but his power is medium,” they added.
They explained that there are hitters with better tools than Lee, but his youth and flexibility to play center field put him at the front of the second tier of free agent outfielders.
Comparing him to Kim Ha-Sung, who signed a four-year, $28 million deal with the San Diego Padres in the 2020-21 offseason, he said, “There are some who say that Lee Jung-hoo’s average annual value should be in line with Kim’s, but there will be teams that will offer him a six-year deal to reduce the impact on the luxury tax calculation. On the flip side, like Kim, Lee may seek a shorter-term deal to get another chance in free agency.”
They noted that Ryu, like fellow starter Lance Lynn, is “a candidate for a successful one-year deal,” but also suggested that Ryu could get a multi-year deal, saying, “We’ve heard that Ryu averaged 88.8 mph on his fastball last season and could get a multi-year deal despite appearing in just 17 games over two years.”
“A reliable starter with postseason experience to anchor the back half of the rotation is hard to come by,” ESPN said, adding that Ryu should get a decent deal on the market.
They mentioned Shohei Ohtani at the top of their list.
He will be 29 years old by Opening Day in 2024, and they expect him to sign a massive 10-year, $502 million contract.