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New York Mets have ‘strong interest’ in signing the Ichiro Suzuki of South Korean baseball league

Jung-Hoo Lee is a name that has started to garner a lot of interest in MLB free agency this week, and it seems the New York Mets are one of the franchises making a strong push for the KBO star.

This should be a very interesting week for the Mets. With the 2023 MLB Winter Meetings kicking off on Sunday, New York is expected to be one of the most active teams in Nashville after a recent report claimed they are going “full bore” into upgrading the roster via free agency this month.

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In recent weeks, the organization has been linked to Japanese ace Yoshniobu Yamamoto as they aim to improve a starting rotation they blew up last year after trading away Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. However, a new report claims they are also strongly pursuing another star player from one of South East Asia’s top baseball leagues.

New York Mets reportedly interested in Jung-Hoo Lee

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Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, USA Today MLB insider Bob Nightengale reported that the Mets have a “strong interest” in Korean center fielder Jung Hoo Lee. This follows another recent report that the New York Yankees are also looking at Lee as a potential target as well.

Related: New York Mets reportedly going full bore in free agency: 6 possible targets including Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

The 25-year-old native of Japan idolized Ichiro Suzuki growing up and it’s why he wore No. 51 during his seven seasons in the league. However, the similarities don’t end there because Lee has a playing style that is a lot like the baseball legend.

  • Jung-Hoo Lee stats (2023): .318 AVG, .406 OBP, .455 SLG, 6 HR, 45 RBI, 50 R, 86 G

Lee has also won five gold glove awards in the KBO and can play center or either corner outfield spots. The 25-year-old won the 2017 KBO Rookie of the Year award, the league’s MVP in 2022, and he has a career .340 average during his career.

Another interesting element that adds to his potential as a legit star in the big leagues is that he has an elite-level pedigree since his father is a legend in Korean baseball.

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