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South Korean OF Lee becomes free agent, can sign through Jan. 3

Jung Hoo Lee Jung Hoo Lee - Getty Images

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Outfielder Jung Hoo Lee, a South Korean MVP and the son of a former MVP, will become a free agent Tuesday and major league teams can sign him through 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 3.

The 25-year-old Lee hit .318 with six homers and 48 RBI in 86 games this year for the Kiwoom Heroes, a season cut short when he broke his left ankle during a game against the Lotte Giants on July 22.

Lee batted .349 in 2022, when he set career bests of 23 homers and 113 RBIs in 142 games. He was voted rookie of the year in 2017 and MVP in 2022.

He hit .429 with two doubles and five RBIs for South Korea in this year's World Baseball Classic, where South Korea failed to advance from its first-round group. He batted .241 with three doubles, one homer and three RBIs in the 2021 Olympics, where South Korea lost to the United States in the semifinals and the Dominican Republic for the bronze medal.

Lee has a .340 career average with 65 homers and 515 RBIs for the Heroes, who were renamed from Nexen to Kiwoon for the 2019 season.

His father, Jong Beom Lee, was MVP in 1994 and played in Japan for the Central League's Chunichi Dragons from 1998 to 2001.

Lee's posting fee will be 20% of the first $25 million of a major league contract, including earned bonuses and options. The percentage drops to 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of any amount over $50 million. There would be a supplemental fee of 15% of any earned bonuses, salary escalators and exercised options.

In addition, 25-year-old right-hander Woo Suk Go was posted by the LG Twins. He was 3-8 with a 3.68 ERA in 44 relief appearances this year, striking out 59 and walking 22 in 44 innings in his seventh season with the team.