Lee Jung-hoo of the Kiwoom Heroes runs toward the first base during the eighth inning in the game against the Lotte Giants at Gocheok Skydom in Seoul, South Korea, April 2, 2022. /CFP

Lee Jung-hoo of the Kiwoom Heroes runs toward the first base during the eighth inning in the game against the Lotte Giants at Gocheok Skydom in Seoul, South Korea, April 2, 2022. /CFP

South Korean rising star Lee Jung-hoo has joined the Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) San Francisco Giants on a six-year, $113 million contract, according to ESPN.

Lee’s salary is the biggest for any Asian-born hitter in major league history. Its guaranteed part beat Japan’s Masataka Yoshida’s $90 million deal with the Boston Red Sox. Lee’s contract includes an opt-out after the fourth season.

Lee’s father was a baseball legend in South Korea in the 1990s nicknamed “Son of the Wind,” which makes him “Grandson of the Wind.” Having played in the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) League for seven seasons, Lee was the Rookie of the Year in 2017, a five-time KBO League Golden Glove Award winner and the Most Valuable Player in 2022.

Lee Jung-hoo (R) of the Kiwoom Heroes hits in the game against the  KIA Tigers at Gocheok Skydom in Seoul, South Korea, August 23, 2020. /CFP

Lee Jung-hoo (R) of the Kiwoom Heroes hits in the game against the KIA Tigers at Gocheok Skydom in Seoul, South Korea, August 23, 2020. /CFP

Lee Jung-hoo (R) of the Kiwoom Heroes hits in the game against the KIA Tigers at Gocheok Skydom in Seoul, South Korea, August 23, 2020. /CFP

Lee’s batting average (BA) has never dropped below .300 in any of his seven seasons in the KBO League. With an average of .340 in BA, he reached the career high of .360 in 2021. Though he didn’t finish the 2023 campaign because of a fractured left ankle, he still batted a BA of .318, an on-base percentage of .406 and a slugging percentage of .455 with 45 runs batted in in 86 games.

The Sandiego Padres have been chasing Lee for a long time and they had an advantage of his close friend Kim Ha-seong on their roster. However, the Giants stepped up to land Lee after they failed to land Shohei Ohtani. They nailed the 25-year-old South Korea star quickly, which should be a win for them after all the trouble they had gone through with other free agents in previous years.

The Giants have missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons and fired their manager Gabe Kapler at the end of the 2023 campaign.

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