Mariners sign Korean slugger Dae-ho Lee to minor-league deal

Feb 3, 2016, 8:59 AM | Updated: 10:25 am
Dae-ho Lee, 33, has spent the past four seasons in Japan and hit a career-high 31 home runs in 2015...
Dae-ho Lee, 33, has spent the past four seasons in Japan and hit a career-high 31 home runs in 2015. (AP)

The team has yet to comment but a baseball source confirms a report out of Korea that the Mariners have reached an agreement with slugger Dae-ho Lee on a one-year contract. The belief is that it’s a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Lee, 33, has spent the past four seasons in Japan, where he hit .282/.368/.524/.892 with a career-high 31 home runs and 98 RBIs for Fukuoka last year. He was the MVP of the Japan Series, which Fukuoka won over the Yakult Swallows. Prior to playing in Japan, Lee had an 11-year career in the Korea Baseball Organization. Lee is from Busan, South Korea.

A right-handed first-baseman/designated hitter, Lee is listed at 6 feet 4 and 285 pounds. Although he looks closer to 300 pounds in a number of videos, including this one, he is said to have lost a significant amount of weight recently.

It would appear he is coming to camp to compete for the spot for the right-handed complement to Adam Lind in a platoon at first base. According to a report in The Korea Times, he is scheduled to take his physical on Thursday and an announcement is expected shortly after.

The Mariners most likely have had eyes on Lee recently as he has spent the past month working out in Arizona with his former Korean team. While he is known to have big offers on the table overseas, he has said his desire is to play in the Major Leagues. According to a couple of reports in the United States, Lee was said to be deciding between a National League team and and American League West team the past few days. It appears he has chosen the Mariners.

Seattle Mariners

Mariners Gleyber Torres...
Brandon Gustafson

Mariners Hot Stove Hype: Yankees trade chip 2B Torres, FA OF Benintendi

What should Mariners fans know about reported trade target Gleyber Torres of the Yankees? The Ringer's John Jastremski told Wyman & Bob.
4 days ago
Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Brandon Gustafson

Morosi: Haniger’s future, how 2 big names leaving their teams benefits Mariners

MLB Network's Jon Morosi joined Wyman & Bob to discuss Mitch Haniger's future and why the door may be opening for the Mariners in the AL.
4 days ago
Mariners Trea Turner...
Brandon Gustafson

Morosi: Why Mariners will be patient with addressing middle infield

The Mariners need a middle IF, and Jon Morosi thinks they'll get a notable one. He just thinks they'll wait it out, and for good reason.
5 days ago
Mariners Brandon Nimmo...
Joe Fann

Fann: Surveying the Mariners top 3 options to complete their outfield

The Mariners' have two OF starters in Julio Rodríguez and Teoscar Hernández, and Joe Fann breaks down his top options for that third spot.
5 days ago
Mariners offseason Jurickson Profar...
Brent Stecker

Mariners Hot Stove Hype: Close look at free agents Profar, Myers

Padres broadcaster Jesse Agler joined Wyman and Bob to share insight on some free agents from San Diego that could be relevant to the Mariners.
5 days ago
Mariners Julio Rodríguez...
Brent Stecker

Big question Mariners have to answer: Where does Julio Rodríguez hit?

Julio Rodríguez eventually settled in as leadoff hitter for the Mariners in 2022, but will that change in 2023 -- and should it? Shannon Drayer and Ryan Rowland-Smith discuss.
7 days ago
Mariners sign Korean slugger Dae-ho Lee to minor-league deal