Korey Lee won a World Series ring with the 2022 Astros, although he didn’t play in the six-game victory over the Phillies.
One title certainly is not enough for the soon-to-be White Sox catcher, who will join Triple-A Charlotte tonight in Norfolk after being acquired in a trade for reliever Kendall Graveman.
“It’s what you dream about as a kid,” Lee told me during a Sunday evening phone interview. “It’s what you are playing for when you are in the backyard and it’s you jumping around. It’s a dream come true.
“They got me one there. I’m ready to bring one to Chicago now. They laid down a good foundation for me to kind of bring into a different organization. [The White Sox] are a great organization how it is and hopefully I can bring some things I’ve learned.”
Lee, 25, has not played since July 3 for Sugar Land due to right oblique soreness. But he’s “100 percent ready to rock” after rehabbing for the past month. He was in the lineup Friday but was scratched after the trade.
The news came to Lee while he was having breakfast Friday in Las Vegas, where the Space Cowboys were playing. Shortly thereafter, Lee dialed up White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn, who is a friend and former roommate when they played together collegiately at Cal, to get the information on his new team.
“They are making decisions right now to get on the winning side of things,” Lee said. “It’s still a good organization over there. You got people that are ready to win that can win also.”
“He's a funny guy. He's got a lot of charisma. He's a good dude,” said Vaughn of Lee, who attended his wedding and stayed with Vaughn while he played for Glendale in the ’21 Fall League. “He's a really good catcher. He's got a cannon back there. He's a grinder, loves the game.”
During a brief ’22 stint with the Astros, Lee finished 4-for-25 with two doubles and four RBIs. He also set a career-high that season with 25 home runs and 22 doubles for Sugar Land. Catchers often are divided into defense-first or offense-first categories. But Lee doesn’t see himself in one group or the other.
“I’m a catcher at heart,” Lee said. “You have to love the defense. You have to love calling a game. You gotta love drawing the relationships with everyone. You are the captain, the quarterback. Everyone is looking at you. I’m excited to do that every single time.
“Then whenever you have the bat, you have to think about a hit. I don’t really categorize it as one thing. I love the game behind the plate, but I also like to hit.”
As of Monday night, the White Sox had Yasmani Grandal and Seby Zavala at catcher on the Major League roster. Carlos Pérez and Adam Hackenberg are among those listed behind the plate with Lee at Charlotte.
Edgar Quero, the No. 2 White Sox prospect, per MLB Pipeline, is with Double-A Birmingham after being acquired from the Angels in the Lucas Giolito/Reynaldo López deal last Wednesday.
The White Sox have some young options, and the right-handed-hitting Lee is ready to start his new journey as part of this group.
“My initial reaction was to jump out of my seat and start playing baseball,” Lee said. “It’s the same goal as with the Astros: Just get up to the big leagues, start playing and start winning with that team.”