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The San Francisco Giants made a splash on Tuesday, agreeing to terms with South Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee on a six-year pact worth $113 million. The rumored contract includes an opt-out clause after the fourth season that could permit Lee to test free agency again before his 30th birthday.

The Giants' fondness of Lee, the No. 15 free agent available on the market this winter, was well known within the industry. CBS Sports identified San Francisco as his likeliest landing spot in September based on how frequently Giants' personnel attended his games. Still, the agreement between the Giants and Lee managed to surprise rival scouts and analysts who spoke with CBS Sports after the news broke. Indeed, several sources invoked comparisons to last winter's oft-panned deal between the Boston Red Sox and Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida. In both cases, teams were perceived as having overpaid for an international free-agent outfielder. 

Whichever way one feels about the merits of Lee or this signing, it's a fact that this deal establishes a new benchmark for Korea Baseball Organization transfers. Previously, the richest deal by AAV awarded to an incoming KBO hitter was the four-year, $28 million agreement between the San Diego Padres and infielder Ha Seong Kim. (A deal that, to be fair, now grossly underpays Kim.) Coincidentally, Kim and Lee were teammates with the Kiwoom Heroes.

It's a certainty that some inside baseball will question any contract that bypasses the precedent several times over. Even so, we here at CBS Sports figured it would be worthwhile to chronicle the three main reasons we've heard from sources questioning why the Giants would make this deal.

1. Will the bat transfer?

This question has been asked of Lee, Kim, and every other KBO hitter who jumped to MLB. The reason is often straightforward: KBO is the world's third-best league, but its pitching is inferior to either MLB or Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. Lee, however, faces more than the general inquiry. 

Lee has some quality offensive traits. He's an excellent contact hitter. Last season, he connected on 91% of the swings he took, including 97% of those against fastballs, according to data obtained by CBS Sports. He minded the strike zone well, too, chasing just 23% of the time. This isn't a perfect comparison because of the difference in quality of competition, but for reference: Luis Arraez had a 92% contact rate and a 32% chase rate.

What Lee lacks is strength. His maximum exit velocity puts him in company with Andrew Benintendi and Robbie Grossman. If you exclude his 23-homer effort in 2022, he averaged seven home runs per season in his other six years as part of the Heroes roster. Generally speaking, players do not gain power after they transition from KBO to MLB. To wit, Kim has homered 28 times the last two years combined -- or, two fewer than he hit in his final KBO season.

One veteran scout asked, in a rhetorical nature, how many home runs Lee would launch at home in Oracle Park. The implication was obvious: probably not many.

There's always lingering doubt about low-wattage hitters until they prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, their stuff works in the majors -- in short, that they can burn pitchers enough to avoid getting force-fed strikes, which then caps their ability to work counts and draw walks. That extends to domestic talents, too, with that friction explaining why someone like Cleveland Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan was never considered a top prospect: scouts feared his bottom-of-the-scale power would doom him.

Will Lee similarly turn that skepticism into acceptance? It's to be seen.

2. How's the ankle?

Of course, players can provide value in ways other than slugging and hitting home runs. Lee's boosters have and will continue to point to his outfield defense and his baserunning (he's never been a potent thief, but maybe that changes under MLB's new rules) as areas where he can contribute right away -- even if his bat doesn't transfer in whole or requires some time, à la Kim.

There is a potential (if unlikely, in our estimation) snag to that position: if the ankle Lee fractured earlier this year causes him to lose any speed or range. Should that come to fruition, he might necessitate a move to a corner. In turn, that would put even more emphasis on his bat.

This particular critique of Lee's deal is a little too speculative for our tastes. The Giants' medical team is no stranger to paying close attention to ankle health. (Ahem.) Presuming they sign off on Lee's health, who are we to question the effectiveness of his recovery? We'll concede that it is something worth keeping in mind, just in case it results in an undesirable outcome.

3. Calculation or desperation?

This last point is less about Lee and more about the Giants and the perception that top executive Farhan Zaidi needed to land a big fish.

Zaidi has long been well-regarded within the industry thanks to his past work with the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers. As one source is fond of saying, they keep score in MLB. Or, put another way: it's a results-based industry. San Francisco has finished .500 or better in just two of Zaidi's first five seasons, resulting in a single playoff berth back in 2021. 

When the Giants fired manager Gabe Kapler earlier this winter, several sources told CBS Sports they felt he had overachieved with underwhelming rosters -- as in, one of the main parts of Zaidi's job. (Despite Kapler's dismissal, Zaidi received a multi-year extension from the Giants that runs through the 2026 season.) The tide can change quickly in that respect. It wasn't long ago that Zaidi was applauded for unearthing Mike Yastrzemski and LaMonte Wade Jr., and for turning San Francisco into a destination for downtrodden pitchers.

Still, the Giants finishing second in pursuits for top stars has become a meme. They chased after Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper, and Aaron Judge to no avail. They had an agreement with Carlos Correa wiped out by medicals. Already this winter they've whiffed on Shohei Ohtani, and they haven't been mentioned as a top-three prospective suitor for Yoshinobu Yamamoto. 

Lee isn't on the level of those players. He is, though, an internationally well-regarded player with a storied career. The thinking goes that maybe Zaidi was willing to overpay to get a deal done with a relative top talent once and for all. Again, we're not so sure we agree with the premise -- Zaidi does not seem inclined toward irrational behavior for the sake of it. We will grant that there is more that goes into running a team than meets the eye. Maybe that sometimes entails taking what others perceive as a risk and hoping for the best.