Jung-Ho Kang, the slugging shortstop from Korea, will be posted by his KBL team today. News outlets immediately linked Kang with the Mets, probably because the Mets could use a shortstop. Since then there have been various reports of interest on the Mets side with some writers saying the Mets are very interested (Heyman) and others saying the Mets are unsure (Ackert).
MLB Trade Rumors list the Cardinals, Padres, A’s, Yankees, Royals, Nationals and Diamondbacks as other teams that may have interest.
The Mets need to answer these questions first before pursuing Kang:
- Can Kang play SS in the MLB? Or is more of a 3B/2B/Corner OF type?
- Does Kang’s power translate into the MLB?
Kang hit 38 homers last season, but the KBL generally matches with AA teams in the States. Signing Kang will cost a posting fee of 10 million and then a 2-3 year contract, so overall 20-30 million. Kang’s age is the difference maker between this scenario and signing a AA player for 20-30 million out of another team’s system. Kang is 28, is about to be in his prime and has the extra years of learning how to see the ball, knowing his body, etc. Does this translate into the MLB? If I could honestly answer that question I would probably be a scout and not a blogger, so I’m not comfortable making that definitive statement.
Moves like this are hard to evaluate in a vacuum of just player. If the Mets can sign Kang to a friendly deal and a low posting fee, then yes, why not take a risk. If he doesn’t work out at Short he could be traded later to a team that needs a 3B/2B or corner outfield. If other Shortstop options look completely bleak (Tulo, Moncado, etc). If another move can be made, then Kang would seem like a silly risk. Maybe the Mets really get involved in the international market and sign Kang as a bridge to Moncado? (Ha! Just kidding, that has like a 0.005% chance of ever happening).
The only absolute today will be the amount of rumors the Mets will be mentioned in, credible or not, with regards to Kang and that #MetsTwitter will have a hilarious overreaction to Kang no matter what happens.