The SF Giants signing Jung Hoo Lee makes a lot of sense. Last year, the team struggled mightily with getting on base regularly as well as with outfield defense. The addition of Lee should go a long way in addressing both of those areas.
The addition of Jung Hoo Lee brings much-needed stability to the SF Giants' outfield
Lee won five Gold Gloves out of the seven seasons he played in KBO. Some defensive metrics grade him differently, but most analysts seem to agree that he would be an above-average MLB center fielder.
While defensive metrics are helpful, we can also go off the eye test. Taking a look at Lee's defensive highlights below shows that he has impressive range and looks like he can handle center field even in a ballpark like Oracle Park where you need to cover a lot of ground. He also shows off an impressive assist arm.
This is huge for the Giants as their outfield defense struggled last year. The outfield ranked 22nd in Defensive Runs Saved and had the second-worst mark in Outs Above Average (OAA). Both of their outfield signings last year, Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto, were disappointing in the outfield. This put a lot of pressure on Mike Yastrzemski to pick up the slack in center along with rookie Luis Matos and veteran Austin Slater.
While all three of them are serviceable in center, they are all more valuable at corner outfield positions. This move will really help Yastrzemski who can fully focus on playing in right field which is where he is at his best. This could even potentially allow Yastrzemski to stay healthier this year since he may not have to put as much strain on his body playing in center.
With how often Lee gets on base, he seems like he could be an everyday fixture at the top of the order for the Giants and be the everyday center fielder that they have been searching for the last several years. He has the speed and the agility to man the position even if there is some concern about his health coming off an ankle injury last season.
Despite the risks involved, this was a move the Giants had to make to address the weaknesses on their roster. Having Lee in center field will take the pressure off the rest of the outfield and will likely lead to better defense. While the team is almost certainly planning to add more this offseason, this is a solid start for the SF Giants as they try to improve their roster.