Mets unlikely to bid on Jung-Ho Kang

By Danny Abriano

December 16:

Sandy Alderson said during Tuesday’s Mets holiday party that the club is “unlikely” to place a bid for Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang.

Teams have until Friday to place bids.

If the highest bid is accepted, the winning team will have a month to work out a contract with Kang.


As is noted below, I wasn’t in favor of going after Kang.

More worrisome than Kang’s numbers being an almost total mirage is the fact that many evaluators don’t believe he’ll be able to stick at shortstop in the majors. And those are the two factors Alderson cited when saying the Mets were unlikely to bid for Kang.

The last thing the Mets need is another shortstop who can’t handle the position.

December 15:

Jung-Ho Kang, a shortstop from Korea who is looking to make the transition from the KBO to the Majors in 2015, will be posted on Monday.

Kang, who turns 28 this coming April, hit .358 with 40 home runs this past season for Nexen in the Korean League.

The posting process for Kang will be blind, as teams place bids with the hope that Nexen accepts the highest one – giving that team a month to negotiate a contract with Kang. If Nexen accepts the highest bid, most believe Kang will cost roughly $7 million or $8 million per season.

The expectation is that the posting fee for Kang could be as low as $2 million or as high as $15 million.


The level of competition in the KBO is viewed as similar to the level of competition at Double-A. Additionally, the miniscule ballparks in the league further enhance the power numbers of players who are batting against pitchers who aren’t exactly feared.

To date, there has not been a single position player from the KBO who has succeeded in the major leagues.

To put Kang’s numbers in perspective, you can look at Eric Thames, a failed major league player who hit .341 with 32 home runs this past season in Korea.

The offensive explosion in Korea is well documented, and is something for any team that’s thinking of making a run at Kang to be wary of. As it pertains specifically to Kang, it’s important to note that prior to the 2014 season, he had never hit more than 25 home runs. That number jumped by 15 this past season.

While using a new ball in 2015 that favored offensive players, the average team in the KBO scored 5.7 runs per game in 2014. Compare that to the majors, where the highest scoring team in baseball (the Angels) averaged a tick over 4.7 runs per game.

Still, while the offensive explosion in the KBO is well documented and with most scouts doubting Kang will be able to come close to his KBO numbers in the Majors, there are some – Keith Law to name one – who believe the power will translate.

So, even if Kang were to hit just .270 or .280 in the majors, he would still be a plus shortstop offense-wise…if he can stick at the position.

There are some who believe Kang can stick at shortstop, but most feel that he’ll wind up at second base. Marc Carig of Newsday recently spoke to an evaluator who believes that Wilmer Flores is a better shortstop than Kang. That’s alarming.

The reason the Mets are trying to find a replacement for Flores is because of questions about his defense. I fail to see how it would make any sense to bring in a player whose defense at shortstop is either on the same level or worse than that of Flores.

With the posting process expected to be complete by the end of this week, we’ll know soon whether or not the Mets were involved.