Lee Jung-hoo, 25, the “grandson of the wind,” started a new chapter in his baseball career by signing with the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball (MLB). Four years later, he has another chance to hit the “jackpot.
Local media outlets, including MLB.com, reported on Wednesday (July 13) that Lee agreed to a six-year, $111.3 million contract with San Francisco. It also includes an opt-out clause after four years.
The deal has grown to more than $100 million, surpassing initial expectations of a deal in the $50-60 million range.
The $113 million is the most ever paid to an Asian slugger who has gone through the posting system to the U.S. Major League Baseball (ML). It surpasses the previous record of five years and $90 million that Japanese slugger Masataka Yoshida signed with the Boston Red Sox last December.
Just as eye-catching as the size of the deal is the fact that it includes an opt-out clause. An opt-out terminates the remainder of the contract and allows the player to declare free agency.
While Lee signed a six-year deal with San Francisco, it means that after four seasons, he will be eligible for free agency ahead of the 2028 season.
If he can quickly adjust to the big leagues and showcase his skills, he could land another big contract as a free agent four years later. Born in 1998, Lee will still be in his late 20s in four years, giving him a competitive edge in free agency.
The opt-out is something that big league veteran Kim Ha-seong also advised Lee Jung-hoo, who is on his way to the MLB.
“There is something I advised Jung-hoo,” Kim said at a press conference for his Gold Glove award last month, “I don’t think the minor league veto (in MLB contracts) is meaningful. Personally, I think it’s better to have an opt-out (in the contract) than a minor league veto,” he said.
He knows from experience. “When you get paid a lot of money in the major leagues, it’s actually not easy to send you to the minors,” Kim said. “When I went to the U.S., I was obsessed with the veto because I thought, ‘If I go to the minors, I’ll be in trouble. But I don’t think there’s any reason to be obsessed with the veto because I don’t think I’m going to get paid much later.”
His “realistic” advice is that instead of making concessions in the negotiation process because of the minor league veto, it’s better to opt out and become a free agent sooner.
The opt-out can be more favorable to the player than the team. 헤라카지노
Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who recently became a free agent after opting out of the Detroit Tigers, signed a four-year, $80 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Had he stayed in Detroit, he could have earned $49 million over three years, but he opted out to get a bigger deal.
Kim’s teammate Manny Machado extended his contract with San Diego through an opt-out.
Machado, who signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with San Diego in 2019, announced in February that he would exercise his opt-out after the 2023 season. San Diego then preempted that with a five-year, $170 million extension. Machado’s deal was now worth 11 years and $350 million, including the remaining six years and $180 million.
The fact that San Francisco signed him to a contract with an opt-out shows how much they needed him. The local media predicted that Lee would be the No. 1 hitter in the middle infield.