Can Phillies land former KBO MVP to solidify outfield for 2024?

Jung Hoo Lee is set to be posted sometime in early December, and the left-hitting center fielder could be just who the Philadelphia Phillies need.
World Baseball Classic Pool B: Korea v China
World Baseball Classic Pool B: Korea v China / Gene Wang/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies are a genuine contender, especially based on these past two seasons, with a trip to the World Series and the NLCS respectively. However, just as with every other contender, there's always ways to improve the roster.

This includes considering a pending free agent who, in some respects, could be perceived as flying under the radar but offers an intriguing skill set. More specifically, South Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee of the KBO League.

As per MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman, Lee is expected to be posted by the Kiwoom Heroes in early December. Interestingly, his window will only be 30 days rather than 45, due to players from the KBO not being under the same agreement as NPB players.

Regardless, Lee is expected to be an extremely attractive proposition for a lot of teams, including the Phillies. He is a left-handed bat, who is expected to improve most outfields, specifically in center field.

Lee already has impressive accolades

Certainly, the 25-year-old has made an excellent name for himself during his seven seasons in the KBO. His resume includes being named Rookie of the Year in 2017 and MVP in 2022.

Lee has played 884 games in the KBO, totaling 65 home runs, 515 RBI, and 383 walks along the way. This contributed towards an impressive .340/.407/.491 slash line and .898 OPS.

Lee's nickname is "Grandson of the Wind" due to his father being nicknamed "Son of the Wind." His father also previously played in the KBO and similarly won the MVP Award in 1994.

Lee brings superior outfield play

In respect to this, the Japan native is renowned for his speed, which understandably helps him when on base, but even more so in the outfield. His excellent overall defense has seen him win five KBO League Golden Glove Awards.

Despite being born in Japan, Lee represented South Korea internationally, where his father was born. He played for Korea at the 2023 World Baseball Classic, compiling a .429/.500/.571 slash line and 1.071 OPS in 14 at-bats.

As per Heyman in a New York Post column, as many as two-thirds of all Major League teams are expected to be interested in acquiring Lee. As such, he is anticipated to receive offers up to and conceivably exceeding five years and $50 million, which the Phillies can certainly afford.

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Brandon Marsh spent the majority of the 2023 season patrolling center field in Philadelphia and overall had a good season, with the promise of more to come. However, bringing Lee in would represent a significant coup for the Phillies.

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