The Padres’ interest in Jung Hoo Lee is well known, though the large amount of interest in Lee’s services threatens to push him out of San Diego’s price range, The Athletic’s Dennis Lin writes. MLBTR projected five years and $50MM for Lee in his first Major League contract as he made the jump from the KBO League, yet Lin hears that the the 25-year-old outfielder could land closer to $90MM, without counting the posting fee a team would additionally owe to the Kiwoom Heroes, Lee’s KBO League club.
Finances have been an big subplot of the Padres’ offseason, as the team’s debt-driven need to reduce payroll has already resulted in Juan Soto’s trade to the Yankees, as well as the seeming unlikelihood of a reunion with such high-profile free agents as Blake Snell, Josh Hader, or Seth Lugo (and Nick Martinez has already signed with the Reds). San Diego has roughly $155.7MM on the books for 2024 according to Roster Resource, yet with several roster holes to fill and a rough payroll limit of around $200MM, spending more than expected on Lee will make it more difficult for the Padres to properly address every need. Lee’s agent Scott Boras isn’t in the habit of giving pseudo-hometown discounts, even if San Diego holds particular appeal to Lee since he is best friends with Ha-Seong Kim.
More from around the NL West…
- Returning to the Soto trade talks, San Diego president of baseball operations A.J. Preller said the Soto field was comprised of 10 teams with three finalists. The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea reports that the Giants were one of the initial 10, though they didn’t make the cut for two central reasons — the Padres preferred the Yankees’ pitching-heavy trade package, and the Padres weren’t keen on moving Soto to a division rival. San Francisco does have a solid batch of young pitching depth of its own, and those arms have naturally drawn interest from other teams given the league-wide demand for pitching. This would seemingly help the Giants’ chances of landing some high-end hitting talent, depending on how much of that depth San Francisco is willing to surrender.
- The Rockies have often been accused of lagging behind other teams in the analytics department, though MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes that Colorado is preparing to open a performance lab at its Spring Training facilities. This is the latest step for a research and development department that has 11 staffers and planning to add more, as most other clubs have considerably more employees in similar departments around the league. “It’s kind of like college football used to be, where there was an arms race for facilities,” Rockies R&D director Brian Jones said. “This is similar. It’s an arms race for talented people — research and development, analysts, biomechanists — every kind of advantage.”