As reported by Jon Heyman of the NY Post last night, Korean star Jung Hoo Lee is coming to the Bay area after signing a deal with the Giants for 6 years and $113 million. The 25 year old outfielder played for the Kiwoom Heroes in the KBO and is known for his plate discipline and contact hitting ability.
After missing out on Shohei Ohtani last week, along with a number of high profile players last winter, the Giants have finally made a splash in free agency. It was reported that the Giants offered Ohtani the same contract that he ended up getting in Los Angeles, but Ohtani chose to stay in the southern part of the state.
As for Lee, Eno Sarris of the Athletic recently comped him to Padres star infielder Ha Seong Kim. Both have contact over power profiles and possess good speed and defense. Lee should slot right into the top of a Giants lineup that struggled in 2023, posting a -45 run differential. Their mark of 674 runs scored was good for just 24th in MLB.
Similar to Masataka Yoshida last year, Lee's contract blew away expectations. MLB Trade Rumors had him projected to get a five-year deal in the $50 million range, and Fangraphs' prediction was not far off that mark. Lee ended up doubling those predictions in terms of average annual value and total dollars.
Athletics add two names to major league coaching staff
The Oakland Athletics have had a quiet month, making just one minor league signing and making one selection in the Rule 5 draft. In major league news, yesterday they added two new coaches to the major league staff.
Bobby Crosby will take over the first base coaching job from Mike Aldrete, who is staying on in a different capacity, and Dan Hubbs will be taking over as bullpen coach. Former bullpen coach Mike McCarty is no longer with the club.
Crosby spent seven years with the Athletics, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2004. He finished his playing career in 2010 and has bounced around a number of clubs, coaching at different levels since then. Hubbs was a college coach for nearly two decades before spending the past two seasons with the Detroit Tigers as their pitching development coordinator.
Fans certainly recognize the need for pitching development at this stage. The A's have a number of fringe bullpen arms that could either be MLB starters or DFA'd before the end of spring training. The Tigers have a number of high-profile arms that have had recent success in the majors. Guys like Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and more have all studied under the purview of Hubbs, so it will be interesting to see what he brings to the table in Oakland.
The Athletics still have question marks on their pitching staff. It feels likely that they'll make another move or two to address open spots and injury concerns, though they may be done on the offensive side.
There are still a number of interesting free agents available and more than two months until pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Arizona. How GM David Forst goes about his business over that time will be a big part in determining how successful the A's will be in 2024.