Lee Jung-hoo Joins San Francisco Giants with Record Contract for Korean MLB Player

SEOUL - Former Kiwoom Heroes outfielder Lee Jung-hoo has made a significant leap in his career by joining the San Francisco Giants, marking a new chapter for the South Korean baseball star.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Lee was officially introduced at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Friday. This introduction followed the announcement of a six-year, $113 million contract with the 25-year-old outfielder, setting a new record for the largest contract awarded to a Korean player transitioning from the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) to Major League Baseball (MLB) through posting. This deal surpasses the six-year, $36 million contract signed by pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012.

During his first press conference, Lee expressed his commitment to winning and dedication to his teammates and fans. He also acknowledged the historic legacy of the Giants, citing the organization's numerous legends and recent championship victories as key factors in his decision to join the team.

Lee has been a standout player in the KBO since earning the league's Rookie of the Year award in 2017. As a two-time batting champion, he boasts a lifetime .340 batting average, the highest among KBO players with at least 3,000 plate appearances. His performance in the 2022 season, leading in several categories, earned him the MVP title. Notably, Lee is the son of KBO legend Lee Jong-beom, the 1994 MVP.

The Giants anticipate Lee's contribution as a center fielder, a position that saw 11 different players in 2023 with subpar results in key offensive and defensive metrics. Farhan Zaidi, President of Baseball Operations for the Giants, highlighted Lee's fit for the team's goal to become more athletic and improve contact play.

Lee's career in the KBO is marked by exceptional bat-to-ball skills and plate discipline, with notable statistics in walks, strikeouts, and on-base percentage. While not a speedster like his father, he has shown strong athleticism and fielding instincts.

Lee emphasized his focus on adapting quickly to the new environment, prioritizing team wins over individual statistics. His contract details include annual salaries from 2024 to 2029, with an opt-out option after 2027, a signing bonus, and committed charitable contributions to the Giants Community Fund. Lee will continue wearing his familiar No. 51 with the Giants.

scroll to top