Korean duo arrives in San Diego, but “strong candidate to sign Lee Jung-hoo…has best friend Kim Ha-sung”

The San Diego Padres are reportedly looking to sign Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom Heroes) in the upcoming offseason. The Padres already have a Korean star in Kim Ha-seong (28), so it will be interesting to see if they can create a Korean duo.

‘Major League Trade Rumors (MTR)’ reported on the 11th (KST) that ‘Lee Jung-hoo has excelled in the KBO for seven seasons and just turned 25 last month. His season ended prematurely due to ankle surgery, but he will play in the major leagues with the KBO affiliate Kiwoom Heroes,” and said that San Diego is a strong candidate to sign him.

The media outlet continued, “San Diego has traditionally been aggressive in the international market. Kim Ha-seong is close to Lee Jung-hoo and they were teammates on the Heroes, which could give San Diego an advantage in the signing.

The media first reported that Lee was headed to San Diego on Sept. 9. San Diego reporter Dennis Lin said, “Kim Ha-seong has publicly expressed interest in reuniting with Lee Jung-hoo. Coincidentally, San Diego is considered a strong candidate to sign him.

Kim expressed his desire to reteam with Lee, who spent four years with the Heroes from 2017-2020. In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune on July 1, Kim said, “Lee Jung-hoo is a great player. He has all the conditions to succeed in the major leagues. I believe that. I want to have him as a teammate.”

If Lee does end up in San Diego, he will have a lot of help from Kim, who has experienced the major leagues firsthand. “I can help him because I’ve been through the adjustment period. I can help them focus on baseball and not waste time on other things,” he said, adding, “It would be great to play together in the big leagues.”

The San Diego outfield is solid with All-Star left fielder Juan Soto and right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. in place, but center fielder Trent Grisham hasn’t lived up to expectations. The two-time Gold Glove winner excels defensively, but his offensive production is lacking, with a .682 OPS with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs in 138 games (89-for-434). It’s the second straight year of poor hitting and it’s hard to see a rebound.

San Diego is likely to approach Lee cautiously with a number of big-money long-term contracts, including Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Tatis, Jake Cronenworth, Darvish Yu, and Joe Musgrove. Several teams, including the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants, have shown interest in Lee, so his price will inevitably rise with competition.

Another variable is Soto, who is a free agent after next season. If they sign Soto to a big extension this winter, they won’t be able to afford to sign Lee. However, if they don’t sign Soto to an extension and use him as a trade chip, they can turn to prospects and another immediate power signing. This would likely increase the need for Lee Jeong-hoo.안전놀이터

In Lee’s favor, he’ll have a reliable sidekick in Kim Ha-seong, and San Diego’s warmer climate and more comfortable environment will be attractive. Surrounded by many variables, one wonders if the Kim-Ha-seong-Jung-hoo duo will emerge in San Diego.

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