The biggest move of the offseason for the SF Giants has been the signing of outfielder Jung Hoo Lee. The six-year, $113 million contract is one of the biggest the organization has ever handed out to a player.
Popular baseball podcast is worried how about the SF Giants' signing of Jung Hoo Lee
The Giants plan on Lee being their everyday center fielder. Plus, he is expected to serve as the term's leadoff hitter due in part to his impressive contact skills and speed. The deal made a lot of sense given the Giants need to make more contact and improve on defense.
However, not everyone was sold on this signing. The popular Talkin' Baseball podcast voiced some concerns about the deal.
The concerns stated are that the KBO is not as talented as the MLB so there will be an adjustment period for Lee. They wonder if that amount of money is warranted for a guy who does not have a proven track record in the MLB.
Additionally, one host raises the question: why not promote a guy who is hitting well in Triple-A for a fraction of the price?
First, it is valid to say that the KBO provides a lower level of competition than the MLB does. Most analysts agree that there will be an adjustment period for Lee as he adjusts to the higher velocity found in the MLB.
But that does not mean Lee cannot blossom into a really solid hitter at the MLB level even if there is a learning curve at first. Plus, the skills he honed in Korea are going to help him especially since he is such a high-contact hitter.
Now, on the second point. Giants fans know that many of the outfield Triple-A call-ups they have had have simply not produced at the MLB level. Heliot Ramos and Wade Meckler spring to mind from last year.
It’s clear that the Giants need a different approach if they are going to improve their outfield, and Lee represents that different approach.
The podcast hosts bring up valid and understandable points, but that does not change the fact that the Lee signing was a necessary one for the Giants even if it does carry risks.
At the end of the day, no one truly knows how Lee will perform. There was an adjustment period for Ha-Seong Kim of the San Diego Padres. Perhaps, the same will occur for Lee as well. That said, speculating that the signing as worrisome before Lee has even played a game in the majors is baseless. But, it has been a slow offseason, so you need to fill the time somehow.