San Francisco Giants Hail Lee Jung-hoo as Ideal Addition

SEOUL - The San Francisco Giants' acquisition of South Korean outfielder Lee Jung-hoo represents the culmination of a longstanding interest in the player, articulated by the team's president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi, during Lee's introductory press conference in San Francisco on Friday.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the Giants had been admirers of Lee "from afar for several years," and were poised to act when Lee became available to Major League Baseball (MLB) teams through posting, following his seven-season stint in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). The Giants' commitment to acquiring Lee was evident when their general manager, Pete Putila, visited Seoul in October to watch Lee play for the Kiwoom Heroes after his return from ankle surgery.

The Giants recognized the talent and potential of the 2022 KBO MVP and subsequently signed him to a six-year, $113 million contract. Zaidi highlighted the extensive efforts made by the Giants to understand Lee both as a player and a person, describing him as an "absolutely perfect fit" for the team.

In 2023, the Giants struggled offensively, particularly in their outfield, and Zaidi believes Lee will help address these challenges. He emphasized the team's goal to become more athletic and improve contact play, qualities he sees in Lee. The Giants' front office was supported by the team's ownership in pursuing Lee, recognizing his high value in free agency.

Lee is expected to play a significant role as the center fielder for the Giants, a position that saw 11 different players in 2023 with limited success. Zaidi plans for Lee to "play Opening Day and every day in center field," anticipating a long-term impact on the team.

Lee's agent, Scott Boras, expressed appreciation for the Giants' commitment, noting the significance of Putila's trip to Seoul to observe Lee's performance. Boras highlighted the mutual interests fulfilled in the negotiation process, with Lee being particularly pleased by the Giants' strong interest.

Lee, who has been on the radar of MLB scouts for several years, expressed gratitude and joy at Putila's presence at his final regular season game with the Heroes, describing it as a "huge present."

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