From Teammates to Rivals: Lee Jung-hoo and Kim Ha-seong Set for MLB Showdowns

SEOUL - The 2024 Major League Baseball season will witness a new dynamic between former Kiwoom Heroes teammates and close friends, Lee Jung-hoo of the San Francisco Giants and Kim Ha-seong of the San Diego Padres, as they face off as rivals in the National League West.

According to Yonhap News Agency, 28, transitioned first from the KBO to the MLB, joining the Padres at the end of 2020. He has since established himself as one of the top defensive players, winning the NL Gold Glove at the utility position after being a finalist at shortstop in 2022.

Lee Jung-hoo, 25, made his big league entry this week, signing a significant six-year, $113 million contract with the Giants. Despite rumors of the Padres considering Lee, the Giants secured the 2022 KBO MVP.

The Padres and Giants, as divisional rivals, are scheduled to compete against each other 14 times in 2024. Lee expressed both surreal excitement and anticipation at his introductory press conference in San Francisco. He credited Kim for being a guiding influence in his career and expressed plans to continue seeking advice.

Adding intrigue, Lee will play under manager Bob Melvin, who previously managed the Padres and Kim Ha-seong. Lee shared that Kim had spoken highly of Melvin and congratulated him on his move to the Giants.

South Korean baseball fans have another reason to be excited as the NL West rivalry extends to include Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ohtani, who recently signed a $700 million deal with the Dodgers, will be a frequent opponent for both Lee and Kim, as the Dodgers face the Giants and Padres 14 times each.

Lee, asked about competing against Ohtani, remained poised and committed to giving his best performance.

scroll to top