So Long Juan
Look, I love Shohei Ohtani as much as the next guy but I don’t see a path for him to becoming a Giant. The player I was really hoping our beloved San Francisco ball club would acquire was Juan Soto, the once and former Padre. He is, as I have already written, on a Hall of Fame path at the age of 25. He plays a solid outfield and he is everything you can want in a hitter. But alas, yesterday the Yankees won the Soto acquisition sweepstakes, albeit by paying a huuuuge price in potential front-line prospects with the seven-player deal. This may be a trade that favors San Diego at the end of the day since Soto is heading to free agency after the 2024 season and the amount of money it will take to sign him to a long-term contract is close to the annual gross GDP of many small countries. It was also a way for the Padres to move some payroll as they are in dire financial straits. I knew that it was highly unlikely the Giants were going to trade with a Division rival for a player like Juan Soto but a guy can dream, can’t he?
Jung Hoo Lee: Future Giant?
MLB.com and Maria Guardado are reporting that the Giants have been heavily scouting Korean Baseball League star Jung Ho Lee. The left-handed hitting, multi-talented outfielder is a top attraction for many clubs this winter. Jung Hoo Lee was officially posted by the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization on Monday, meaning he has up to 30 days to negotiate with Major League clubs before his signing period expires on the third of January, 2024. Here is what Guardado says about the Giants pursuit of the outfielder:
The Giants are among the teams that have heavily scouted the 25-year-old Lee, who earned KBO MVP honors in 2022 and has a .340 career batting average over his seven seasons in the league. Lee hit .318/.406/.455 with six home runs and 45 RBIs in 2023, though he appeared in only 86 games after suffering a left ankle fracture in July.
Still, the Giants made their interest known by sending general manager Pete Putila to South Korea to attend Lee’s final game with the Heroes in October.
If Pete Petilia is traveling to Korea to see a ball player then it’s serious business.
Here’s more from the article:
“It was a great trip,” Putila said Tuesday. “He got off six or seven swings in one at-bat, so it was great to see him take those swings. I got to see him take fly balls pregame a few different days. Just to experience the game over there, the excitement, the energy was off the charts. It was a really good experience.”
A five-time winner of the KBO’s Golden Glove, Lee is viewed as a plus defender in center field, a position the Giants are interested in upgrading as part of their quest to improve their defense and athleticism this offseason. San Francisco outfielders ranked 28th in the Majors with -13 outs above average in 2023, when 11 players cycled through center field.
He said good bye to the fans : “I’ll always do my best for you to
hear some good news (from MLB). Always be happy ! 🙏🏻” pic.twitter.com/HHO1SZ0g3z
— Joseph Kim (@blackwings2011) October 10, 2023
The Giants have gone on the record of looking for an everyday center fielder which is good news if it is true. It’s time to put the position swapping and constant, never-ending platooing to an end and let each player play his position as best he can. Lee could be the right fit for the Giants however they are not alone in their interest. It has been reported the Yankees are also scouting him.
Don’t you ever learn? You cannot buy a World Series Championship. It never works!
2024 Ford C. Fricke Award Winner
Both Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow were nominated for the Ford C. Fricke Award this year. The award is the entry into the Hall of Fame for broadcasters. Both will likely one day get inducted but MLB announced yesterday that Joe Castiglione won the honor for 2024. He has called Red Sox games for 41 seasons and is highly regarded by fans all over baseball. Congratulations to him.