The first order of business for Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners front office needs to be figuring out how the Mariners can reduce their number of strikeouts in 2024. In the 2023 season, the Mariners had three players Teoscar Hernandez, Eugenio Suarez, and Julio Rodriguez finish in the top 10 in MLB for strikeouts. The lack of contact from these three Mariners starters cost the team in critical situations with runners in scoring position and led to unproductive outs.
Outfielder Jung Hoo Lee of the KBO is likely to be posted in the 2023 off-season by the Kiwoom Heroes. Hoo Lee has had an impressive knack for getting on-base and being able to not strikeout. He has averaged just 43 strikeouts a year in the KBO which plays 144 games a season. He also walked more than he struck out in five out of his seven seasons in the KBO.
Not only has Hoo Lee been able to get on base and avoid the strikeout, he also has done a tremendous job of making contact. His career batting average in the KBO is .340 to go with an OBP of .407. Hoo Lee's ability to put the ball in play would be a welcome sign for the Mariners offense should they acquire him. His bat to ball skills are a unique set of tools which complement his incredible eye at the plate.
Should the Mariners be unable to re-sign outfielder Teoscar Hernandez (who finished third in major league baseball with 211 strikeouts) Hoo Lee would be a viable option. Hoo Lee has better range then Hernandez having played mostly center field and posting a .992 career fielding percentage for his career. Hoo Lee also strikes out less than Hernandez and has a much better overall career batting average of .340 to Hernandez's .261.
The only question regarding Hoo Lee is his health status, having had his 2023 season cut short with a fractured ankle back in July. Hoo Lee is still expected to be posted despite his injury, and could be a nice addition to the Mariners for the 2024 season. Will the Mariners sign the 25-year-old KBO star in the 2023 off-season? It could be a good start toward curbing the swing-and-miss on the current roster.