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Padres lose out on Jung-hoo Lee

Lee has picked a team in the NL West but it isn’t San Diego

Olympics: Baseball-Men Semifinal - JPN-KOR Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

So much for Ha-Seong Kim’s relationship with Jung-hoo Lee. The 25-year-old is signing a six-year deal with the San Francisco Giants for north of $100 million, according to Jon Heyman.

The numbers being floated around by experts were between $50-$90 million for the Korean outfielder so to see over $100 million is a little bit surprising. The Padres and Giants were the known teams interested and San Francisco has to know that San Diego has a limit on how much they’re going to spend on any one player so perhaps this is a situation where they were bidding against themselves.

As noted the other day, Lee spent seven seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) with the Nexen and Kiwoom Heroes. He hit .340 and won five consecutive KBO gold gloves so he’s definitely a talented player but it’s still a big risk to spend over $100 million for someone who isn’t a big power hitter and hasn’t faced big league pitching yet consistently.

With this said, the Giants definitely needed to bring in a big player after failing to reel in a number of superstars in the past few years.

Now the Padres still have two outfield holes to fill and one of them might come from within in Jakob Marsee, who’s the Padres 13th ranked prospect according to MLB’s list. The 22-year-old finished 2023 at Double-A where he hit .286 with a .858 OPS in 16 games.

A.J. Preller may decide to do this in part because Marsee would be making less than $1 million on his rookie deal. Of course that comes with a risk though because he might not be ready for the major leagues yet.

Kevin Kiermaier, Michael A. Taylor and Harrison Bader are some of the center fielders left on the board if San Diego wants to go in the veteran direction in center assuming Fernando Tatis Jr. will be in right field.