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  • Writer's pictureEthan Semendinger

BN: Jung Hoo Lee to SFG; 6/$113M

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Breaking News: The San Francisco Giants have announced they they signed KBO star Jung Hoo-Lee to a 6-year, $113M contract.

 

Breaking Tweet:

 

Quick Thoughts:

After Shohei Ohtani's "$700 Million" contract- that is and isn't really worth $700 Million- trying to wrap my head around contracts again will take some time and the Giants signing a 2-time KBO MVP to a 6-year deal at a rate of about $18.8M AAV could be a very promising deal.


Lee, who is only going to be 25-years-old next season, could find himself on one of the leagues better contracts...provided he lives up to the expectations as a high quality bat and glove early on. If so, the Giants are buying in at a low premium for a player who they will hope is at least All-Star level in his first, adjustment, year to the MLB.


There is a lot to like about Lee, as he is a left-handed bat with a high career average and some occassional pop in his bat. Especially given the large outfield confines of Oracle Park (side-note: I prefer when it was AT&T Park), that should bode well for helping his numbers translate offensively to the MLB.


However, there are also some concerns. Many pundits have talked about the league-low pitching velocity and Lee's lack of success on pitches in-and-above the mid-90's. They have also talked about how the gold glove award in the KBO carries a lot of offensive weight behind it. While the outfield in Oracle Park should help his bat, it could also spell trouble with its spaciousness for a fielder who may have won more defensive awards due to his bat than ability to field. (The jury is still out on whether or not Lee is an above-average fielder and in a park like San Francisco and the rest of the NL West, that will be tested quickly.)


There is also a possibility that Lee becomes a free agent as a player entering his age-29 season, as there is a 4th year option included in the contract, though at this time the details of it (club/player/mutual) is unknown.


As for how this impacts the Yankees, after they were able to make deals for Juan Soto, Trent Grisham, and Alex Verdugo in the last week or so, they seemed to also take themselves out of the market for Lee. However, he was an interesting free agent piece for the Yankees to consider at the beginning of the offseason.


KBO players- as do some NPB players- often take a season or so to adjust to the MLB, so it will be interesting to follow Lee from afar to see if he can further showcase how more KBO talent can come and stick in the MLB moving forward. Ha-Seong Kim of the San Diego Padres is the most recent example of a great KBO player adjusting to the MLB and his 2021 season was a noticiable struggle.


Evenso, welcome to the MLB, Jung Hoo Lee!

12 Comments


jjw49
Dec 13, 2023

The Giants overpaid for Lee at 19million a year for an unproven outfielder coming out of the KBL. Adjusting to major league pitching is on the horizon for him. Keep in mind, the average speed for Korean league is 88mph. I doubt if Lee breaks .300avg. this year. It might have been more prudent to wait on Lee until Yamamoto decides where he wants to sign. In Oracle Park he should be a 15-20game winner. Rumor is Yamamoto prefers West Coast if true or not we will find out pretty soon.

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fuster
Dec 13, 2023

a reasonably high salary for a guy who will spend a year learning to play MLB-style ball

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Dec 13, 2023

I was high on him. I love players that break the mold.


I wish him all the best. I hope he bats .350/22/85 or something like that and makes people think of Ichiro.


He wasn't going to be a Yankees once they had Verdugo, Grisham, and that other guy... oh, yeah, Soto. :)


Good job Ethan - you nailed it.

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yankeesblog
Dec 13, 2023

I would not have gone more than 5 years for $50 million for Lee.

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jjw49
Dec 13, 2023
Replying to

Giants overpaid at 19million for a player coming out of the KBL.... they could have signed Bader for fewer years and money. Giants need pitching and Yamamoto should be their #1 priority, and maybe he still is, but Lee isn't going to hit for the same average in the majors. They should have used this money for a run at Alonso.

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