Former KBO MVP Jung Hoo Lee available to MLB clubs

One of Korea’s top stars is expected to play a key role in the major leagues next season after outfielder Jung Hoo Lee was posted Monday and now has 30 days to come to terms on a free-agent deal.

Also posted Monday was Korean Baseball Organization left-handed reliever Woo Suk Go, who had 42 saves as recently as 2022 with the LG Twins.

Lee, 25, was the KBO MVP in 2022 when the left-handed hitter batted .349 with a .575 slugging percentage, 23 home runs and 113 RBIs for the Kiwoom Heroes. A run producer on Korea’s World Baseball Classic team in March, Lee batted .318 with six home runs over 86 KBO games last season before he underwent ankle surgery.

Lee is expected to become the highest paid free agent to sign an MLB deal from the KBO, passing the $36 million the Los Angeles Dodgers gave to left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu in December of 2012.

Go, 25, had a 3.68 ERA in 44 innings last season, while giving up two home runs. But that was a down year compared to 2022 when he had a 1.48 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings.

MLB teams that sign either player will have to pay their former team in Korea a posting fee that is a percentage of guaranteed money. The first $25 million requires a 20-percent fee, with an additional 17.5 percent on a contract between $25 million and $50 million. The fee rises to 50 percent for any amount over $50 million.