Are The Seattle Mariners About To Land Jung-ho Kang?
Update: At the bottom
South Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang will be negotiating with a Major League baseball team very soon. This after his Korean (KBO) team, the Nexen Heroes accepted a posting bid of $5 million. The problem is, no one knows who the mystery team is.
Could it be the Seattle Mariners?
With two shortstops already in the mix – Brad Miller and Chris Taylor – it seems unlikely. But several teams in the hunt for a shortstop have already confirmed that is wasn’t them.
It’s not the San Diego Padres (CBS Sports), New York Mets (New York Post), Baltimore Orioles (Baltimore Sun), San Francisco Giants (GM Brian Sabean), New York Yankees (ESPN), Toronto Blue Jays (team broadcaster Mike Wilner), or Los Angeles Dodgers (LA Times).
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It could be the Phillies, who just recently traded Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. But it could be Seattle. Jack Zduriencik may have had one more trick up his sleeve in acquiring Kang, who hit .356 with 40 homers and 117 RBI in a notoriously hitter-friendly league.
How that will translate to the Big Leagues is anyone’s guess. But it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that he could hit near .300 with 20-25 homers. An improvement over Miller and Taylor to say the least.
It would then allow the Mariners the flexibility to trade on of those two to a team in need of a shortstop, for another pitcher.
Whichever team has won the bid, the sides now have 30 days to negotiate a contract. If an agreement is not reached, he stays in Korea, the Heroes keep the $5M and Kang can’t be posted again until November 1, 2015.
Kang’s agent Alan Nero is seeking $20 million over four years, $16.6 million for three years or $12 million for two years, according to a Yonhap News Agency report. That’s a relatively minor gamble – as far as contracts go.
We’ll wait and see now if Jack is in fact the man behind the curtain on this one.
Update: It’s also not the Athletics, Angels, Rangers, Braves, Twins, Nationals, Rays or Astros.
Still in it: Mariners, Tigers, Marlins, Phillies, Red Sox, Indians, Reds, Rockies, White Sox, Cardinals, Pirates, Brewers, Royals, Cubs and Diamondbacks.
Kang met with the South Korean press at 1pm Sunday (Seoul local time) and stated he didn’t know the identity of the team either.