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The San Francisco Giants have finally landed a big-name free agent. The Giants and South Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee have agreed to a six-year contract worth $113 million, CBS Sports HQ's Jim Bowden confirmed. The contract includes an opt out after four years, according to the New York Post's Jon Heyman. The team has not yet confirmed the signing.

Lee, 25, spent the last seven seasons with the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization and is one of the greatest players in league history. For his career, he owns a .340/.407/.491 batting line with 65 home runs, 69 stolen bases, and more walks than strikeouts. Lee slashed .318/.406/.455 in 86 games this past season before an ankle injury ended his season in August.

In 2022, Lee was named KBO MVP thanks to a .349/.421/.575 line and a career high 23 home runs. He also has elite bloodlines. Lee's father, Jong Beom, is a former KBO MVP himself, and he still holds the league's single-season stolen base record (84 in 124 games in 1994). Jung Hoo became the first player to skip the minors and jump straight from high school to KBO.

CBS Sports recently ranked Lee as the 15th best free agent available this winter. Here's what we wrote at the time:

Lee fractured his ankle in July, ending his season and hindering his ability to further audition for MLB scouts. He's regarded as a plus runner and defender, and he's demonstrated appreciable bat-to-ball skills. Lee had a 91% contact rate this season, including a 97% contact rate against fastballs, according to data obtained by CBS Sports. He's not a big-time slugger (23 of his 65 career home runs came in 2022), and that puts the onus on him making a full recovery so that he can contribute in the field and on the basepaths. Teams always have concerns about how KBO hitters will fare against MLB pitching. The recent success of Ha-Seong Kim, Lee's former teammate, should provide them with some peace of mind. 

Power is not really Lee's skillset and that's good, because Oracle Park is one of the worst home run parks in the league. Lee's game -- spraying line drives all over the field -- is well suited to a big ballpark. Although he frequently hit in the middle of the lineup in KBO, Lee has a prototypical leadoff hitter's skill set given his contact and on-base ability.

With the caveat that San Francisco heavily employs platoons, new manger Bob Melvin's lineup could look something like this now that Lee has been signed:

  1. CF Jung Hoo Lee, LHB
  2. 2B Thairo Estrada, RHB
  3. 1B LaMonte Wade Jr., LHB
  4. DH WIlmer Flores, RHB
  5. RF Mike Yastrzemski, LHB or Mitch Haniger, RHB
  6. 3B J.D. Davis, RHB
  7. LF Michael Conforto, RHB or Austin Slater, RHB
  8. C Patrick Bailey, SHB
  9. SS Marco Luciano, RHB

The Giants have struck out countless times on big-name free agents in recent years, most notably Aaron Judge last offseason and Shohei Ohtani this offseason. They did agree to a 13-year, $350 million contract with Carlos Correa last winter, though that deal fell apart because of a concern with Correa's ankle.

San Francisco paid a premium to land Lee. The contract shatters Hyun-Jin Ryu's record for a player making the jump from KBO. The NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers gave Ryu a six-year, $36 million contract in December 2012. Two years ago, the San Diego Padres signed Kim to a four-year contract worth $28 million.

As part of MLB's posting system arrangement, the Giants must pay the Heroes a transfer fee that is based on Lee's total contract value. Here's how the posting fee is calculated:

  • Contract worth less than $25 million: 20% of contract value
  • Contract worth $25 million to $50 million: $5 million plus 17.5% of amount over $25 million
  • Contract worth more than $50 million: $9.275 million plus 15% of amount over $50 million

The $113 million contract comes with an $18.725 million posting fee, so, all-in, the Giants are investing $131.725 million in their new center fielder. The Giants are also in on Japanese righty Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who could receive a contract north of $300 million. They reportedly met with Yamamoto over the weekend and he is expected to make his decision within the next 10-14 days.