Lee files for salary arbitration with Giants

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Lee files for salary arbitration with Giants

How popular is Lee Dae-ho of the Busan Lotte Giants and how much of a raise should he receive after a monstrous season in which he dominated seven of eight major offensive categories?

The answer may rest in the sale of Lee’s replica jerseys and other merchandise sold last season.

The 27-year-old first baseman is the only player to have filed for salary arbitration with the league’s front office this offseason.

Lee was paid 390 million won ($342,030) last season and is set to receive the same amount in the upcoming season. Lee would like to get paid 700 million won next season. It’s the same as the annual salary of Kim Dong-joo of the Doosan Bears, the highest paid player in the KBO.

One of the reasons for Lee’s request to join the ranks of Kim as the highest paid player in the league is due to the promotional and marketing effect he has had on the Giants.

In the file submitted to the KBO front office earlier this week, Lee was required to provide details on the impact he has had on team marketing.

The Giants consistently rank among the top eight KBO teams in merchandise sales. The Giants grossed 3.6 billion won in merchandise sales in the 2009 season alone.

Lee was the face of the Giants in 2010. He set a world record by hitting a home run in nine consecutive games in the month of August.

The sales figures are estimated to have naturally increased during the same span.

In the file submitted on Lee’s part, sales of replica jerseys at Giants Shops at Lotte department Stores between April and September 2010 indicate 54 percent of the jerseys sold were Lee’s.

Ream officials have a different stance on the issue.

“We raised a total of 3 billion won in merchandise sales in 2010 and 15 percent of that figure was Lee’s items,” said a Giants official. “Excluding the expenses, the figure comes to 20 million won.”

KBO contracts stipulate that players must gain permission of their respective team before appearing in television shows or advertisements, and all merchandise sales are calculated into the player’s yearly salary.

Lee said he has never been compensated for the proceeds from past merchandise sales.

By Choi Min-kyu [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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