Hmmm, notice the price tag at the end of the article! Comparable to Matsui, they say? Hey, can this guy play right field? We could spend more money on pitching...
Korean slugger now a free agent
On Saturday, Korean slugger Seung-Yeop Lee took his first step toward Major League Baseball, and according to a Korean source, he might soon be walking in Anaheim's direction.
Lee, 27, officially became a free agent Saturday and has drawn the interest of scouts for 10 big-league clubs.
The source said the Angels might be the front-runner and that it wouldn't be a surprise if Lee signed a contract with Anaheim within the next month.
Angels GM Bill Stoneman was unavailable for comment on Saturday night.
Lee has been represented by John Kim of SFX in Korea. On Saturday, Southern California-based Arn Tellem confirmed that Lee will be a Tellem client in the United States.
"I can't talk about teams," Tellem said. "But we are representing him. Call back Monday."
Lee, a first baseman known in Korea as the "Lion King," hit 56 home runs in 2003 to break Japanese legend Sadaharu Oh's Asian single-season home run mark of 55 and smash the Korean record of 54, which he set in 1999 (135-game season). He has hit over 300 home runs in nine seasons in Korea.
The Angels would likely have no problem accommodating him on the field if they so desired.
Anaheim released its full-time designated hitter, Brad Fullmer, last month, in a move designed to give regular right-fielder Tim Salmon more at-bats at DH.
The Angels also have not yet indicated plans for their regular first baseman, Scott Spiezio, who is a free agent.
Lee is not a complete stranger to the big leagues: He worked out with the Chicago Cubs in Spring Training in 2002 and with the Florida Marlins in their 2003 spring camp.
On Saturday, another source familiar with the situation said, "He wants to play in the American League, where he can have the option of being a designated hitter, and everyone in Korea has been reporting Anaheim as a strong possibility."
One Korean newspaper, Dong-A Ilbo reported that Lee also seeks a city with a strong Korean population, which the Los Angeles area has.
Lee comes to the United States with a lofty reputation.
According to the Dong-A Ilbo, Lee's manager on the Samsung Lions, Ung-Ryong Kim, said, "He is able to do as much as Japanese hitter Hideki Matusi did."
Matsui, who was known as "Godzilla" after 10 star-studded years in Japan, came over to the New York Yankees in 2003 and will likely be the winner of the American League Rookie of the Year award after posting a .287 batting average with 16 home runs and 106 RBIs.
The newspaper said Lee is looking to command between $1.5 and $2 million per year.