The Seattle Mariners are looking for more offense and have agreed with Korean slugger Dae-Ho Lee on a minor-league deal worth $4 million, it was reported by Bob Dutton of the News Tribune on Wednesday.
Lee, 33, will be invited to spring training by the M's.
Playing for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks last season, Lee hit .282 in 141 games, hitting 31 home runs and earning MVP honors for his performance in the Japan Series (in which the Hawks defeated the Tokyo Yakult Swallows).
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Dutton quotes GM Jerry Dipoto as being particularly impressed with Lee's performance in Japan and Korea:
"Dae-Ho gives us another potential right-handed power bat in the first base competition," Dipoto said. "He has performed at a very high level of production in both Korea and Japan and we are excited to see how that translates to our team."
Lee joins a crowded battle for first base in Seattle, with Jesus Montero, Stefen Romero and Gaby Sanchez expected to compete for the role in spring training.
As for Lee's confidence level, he doesn't seem to think it will be 'impossible' to earn a spot with the Mariners, as quoted by the Tribune:
"All baseball players dream of playing in the majors," he said, "and I'd like to pursue that dream. If I can give 100 percent, like I've done throughout my career, I don't think it will be impossible."
Lee's election as Japan Series MVP, by the way, marked the first time a Korean-born player was given the honor.