Late last night/early this morning, Jerry's team of elves were busy making some shoes, signing 33-year-old South Korean slugger Dae-ho Lee to a one-year, four million dollar contract. The imposing righty is coming off his best year of his four-year career in the NPB, bashing 31 HRs for the league champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, with a respectable slash line of .282/.368/.524. Before playing in the NPB, Lee spent ten years in the KBO, where in 2010, he hit home runs in nine consecutive games, which is not just a KBO record, but a world baseball record (the previous record of eight was shared among several players, including Ken Griffey Jr.).
In addition to being of an advanced age, Lee is enormous (6'4", 285, although the eye test suggests he's way closer to 300) and while listed as 1B/DH, watching him lumber around the bases doesn't inspire confidence in his fielding ability. Lee is wildly popular in both Japan and Korea, and set to make about five million dollars for 2016 should he return to the Hawks. However, he says he dreams of playing in the MLB and wants to pursue every opportunity to do so, even going so far as to appear at the Winter Meetings in December (the only South Korean FA to do so) and delaying his trip home from Arizona in hopes of getting a deal done. Perhaps Trader Jerry saw an opportunity for right-handed power hitting on the (relative) cheap and decided he could take home this Manager's Special and make a nice stew out of it? No matter what, this is another move towards acquiring some short-term, serviceable depth, and it will certainly be entertaining to follow Lee, who is a fan favorite and bona fide celebrity. And hey, dingers! (h/t @YakyuNightOwl)