Dae-Ho Lee Continuing to Come up Big for the Mariners

When the Seattle Mariners signed Dae-ho Lee in February of 2016, not much was expected of the 33-year-old Korean star. He was signed to a minor-league deal, but after a good spring training the Mariners added Lee to the 40-man roster. Lee became part of a platoon with left-handed hitting Adam Lind.

The platoon did not exactly start off how the Mariners had hoped, as Lind struggled mightily out of the gate, and Lee did not see much playing time initially as Seattle faced more righties. On April 13, however, Lee would come up with maybe the biggest hit of the young season. With Seattle stumbling in the first couple weeks, Lee dug in in the bottom of the 10th against Texas. Down in the count 0-2, Lee took a high Jake Diekman fastball and hammered it out of the park. At the time, the Mariners were 2-6, and starving for offense. Since Lee’s walkoff, the Mariners are 27-15 and have not had any issues producing runs.

Not only did Lee jumpstart the Mariners offense, he has been a major contributor to that offense. He trails only fellow countryman Byung-ho Park and upstart Nomar Mazara in American League home runs by a rookie. What makes that more impressive, is Lee has almost half as many at-bats as Mazara and Park. Most of his homers have been clutch ones too. He came up with two monster shots in Oakland to help the Mariners complete a comeback and sweep away the Athletics. His three-run shot a week later against the Tampa Bay Rays proved a major difference maker in the Mariners’ 6-4 victory. Then yesterday, Lee smacked another three-run shot to help the Mariners officially put away the San Diego Padres.

After the Mariners platoon appeared as an issue initially, it is slowly becoming an asset. While Lee has received most of the spotlight, Adam Lind has quietly been heating up as well giving the Mariners a potentially dynamic platoon. Interestingly enough, Lee has hit just as well against righties as he has lefties. With Lind hitting better, the talks have quieted but there was some speculation that Lee may move into a more regular role with the team. While that does not seem likely now, it does seem likely that Lee will continue to produce in a big way for the Mariners.

One Response

  1. God's Left Hand

    It is high time Dae-Ho Lee be installed as the everyday 1st baseman. Adam Lind has been terrible for the majority of 2016 only having a recent hot spurt where he has produced anything of value. The platoon that was supposed to be in place is completly unnecessary as Lee against righties has a slash line of (.343/.373/.686) whereas Lind’s slash against righties (his supposed main asset) is .248/.276/.405.

    Lee’s defense has also been as good or better than Lind’s at first base which was a major question mark that I feel he has put to rest thus far. On the base paths neither is an asset so that is basically a wash. The major question with Lee coming over here is would his skills translate and so far the answer has been a resounding yes.

    For those who want to use the small sample size issue, Lee has a long history of crushing both righties and lefties in Asia but of course there was that issue of whether we could trust the numbers over there. So far he has shown that he is for real.
    Now is as good a time as any to try and trade Lind when his value has been at the highest it has been all season with his recent mild hot streak. I realize it will be nearly impossible to trade him without eating a major part of his contract and he has nearly no trade partners. The Mets might be the only team with any interest whatsoever. At the very least though it may net them a minor leaguer which is more than he will provide when he leaves at the end of the season; there is virtually no chance the Mariners bring him back next year at the salary he will want. If no trade partner can be found I still feel the Mariners will be better off DFAing him as he really brings zero value to the team at this point. They would be better off filling the spot with someone with defensive flexibility who can pinch run for Lee late in the game and play 1st base for the late innings.

    At the very least they should let Lee get full time at bats to see truly what they have in him and see if he can be someone they will want to keep around a couple more years. He will be reasonably priced and a full time player whereas Lind will be far more expensive and still be only a platoon player.


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