While still focused on the acquisition of Richie Sexson or Derrek Lee to play first base in 2004, the Dodgers are weighing the possibility of signing Korean free agent Seung-Yeop Lee as insurance at the position, a club official said after Lee and his wife, along with agent John Kim, met with General Manager Dan Evans and other club officials Friday at Dodger Stadium.
Known as the Lion King in South Korea, Seung-Yeop Lee, 27, slugged 56 homers for the Samsung Lions in 2003, breaking the Asian record of 55 set by the legendary Japanese slugger Sadaharu Oh. Lee has hit more than 300 homers in nine seasons, but major league scouts are uncertain whether he is ready to step into a full-time role in the U.S.
"The Dodgers have always been pioneers internationally," Evans said. "We're not afraid to take a risk.... We're weighing the risk-reward factor."
Said another club official: "In no way are we diverting our attention from Sexson and [Derrek] Lee. We see this guy in more of a subordinate role, and we're willing to trust our scouts who feel there's a chance he can help us."
Lee and his agent have met with officials of the Seattle Mariners and are expected to meet with the New York Mets as well.
-- Ross Newhan