Jung Hoo Lee contract details and grade: Giants finally land big fish with KBO star

The San Francisco Giants land a top free agent in South Korean star outfielder Jung Hoo Lee. Let's grade the contract.
World Baseball Classic Pool B: Korea v China
World Baseball Classic Pool B: Korea v China / Gene Wang/GettyImages

The San Francisco Giants haven't made that big splash in free agency like they had been planning in recent years. So far this offseason, the team missed out on two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers on a 10-year, $700 million contract. But the Giants are still linked to Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto but face some stiff competition in the New York Yankees, Mets, and Dodgers.

But on Tuesday, the Giants got one of the other top international free agents available.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Giants have agreed to terms with KBO star outfielder Jung Hoo Lee on a six-year, $113 million contract. Also included in the deal is an opt-out clause after the first four seasons.

Giants land Jung Hoo Lee: Contract grade

As mentioned earlier, the Giants have swung and missed on a variety of top-tier free agents in the past. After the 2018 season, the team lost out on Bryce Harper to the Philadelphia Phillies. Last year, the Giants saw Aaron Judge re-sign with the New York Yankees while also pulling the plug on a Carlos Correa contract due to injury concerns with his foot. Then, this winter, the Giants watched Ohtani sign with the hated Dodgers.

With the market now focused on Yamamoto, who is meeting with teams throughout the week and could command a $300+ million contract, the Giants were able to ensure Lee would not sign elsewhere.

For teams that needed an outfielder who has good defensive abilities and incredible contact at the plate, Lee was one of the best available. Lee spent seven years playing for the Kiwoom Heroes in the KBO and had a number of accolades to his credit.

In 2022, Lee won the KBO MVP award after recording a .349 batting average, a .421 on-base percentage, a .575 slugging percentage, 23 home runs, 85 runs, 113 RBI, 193 hits, 32 strikeouts, and 68 walks in 553 at-bats. Not to mention, Lee won five KBO Gold Gloves in his career.

In his seven seasons, Lee slashed .340/.407/.491 while recording 65 home runs, 515 RBI, 581 runs, 1,181 hits, 304 strikeouts, and 383 walks in 3,476 at-bats.

Another plus of the deal is that the Giants signed Lee away from the rival San Diego Padres, who were linked to him and are looking for outfield help after they traded Juan Soto to the New York Yankees this offseason.

At 25 years old, Lee has the potential to be a long-term outfield option for the Giants. After failing to bring in a big-name free agent, they do land one of the best contact hitters and outfield defenders available this offseason. This is a win for the Giants.

Giants contract grade B+

Next. 5 best free agents available after Ohtani deal and where they’ll sign. 5 best free agents available after Ohtani deal and where they’ll sign. dark