The Ha-Seong Kim rumors have started to heat up, and the battle is on, with several teams reportedly pursuing the free-agent infielder. Kim, the top prospect in the Korean Baseball Organization, has been posted and made available to MLB teams. The Kiwoom Heroes made Kim available, and MLB teams will have until January 1st to sign him.
Ha-Seong Kim Rumors: Who Is He?
Kim is a 25-year-old middle infielder who has played mostly third base and shortstop. In seven years in the Korean Baseball Organization, he put together a slash line of .294/.373/.493. He hit 134 home runs and stole 133 bases. He has been called one of the most sought-after free-agents this offseason.
While he has not faced Major League pitching, it is evident that MLB scouts and evaluators are not overly concerned. One scout has compared Kim to Cardinals’ shortstop Paul DeJong as an overall player. The same reporter also compared his swing to that of Ronald Acuna Jr. That will certainly fire up the Ha-Seong Kim rumors.
Ha-Seong Kim Rumors: MLB Interest
So, is anybody interested in this hot prospect from the KBO? MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Blue Jays and Rangers have expressed interest in signing Kim. The Yankees may also see Kim as a backup plan would they fail to retain D.J. LeMahieu. There may well be other teams interested whose interest has not been publicized yet.
Ha-Seong Kim Rumors: How Good Is He Really?
One projection placed Kim’s offensive potential as roughly equivalent to that of Dansby Swanson. While that is not necessarily Hall-of-Fame level, it would be solid for a rookie, albeit a 25-year-old rookie. Of course, this is just a projection, it should be taken with a grain of salt.
Baseball America says that Kim “is a good athlete with good instincts at (shortstop) and has the average arm strength to stay on the left side of the infield. He projects to be an above-average hitter and has enough power to hit 12-15 home runs per year in the majors … He is a plus runner who adds value on the bases as well.”
A ZIPS projection, on the other hand, suggests that Kim could average 23 home runs and 15 steals over the next five years. According to their numbers, this would make Kim close to a 4 WAR player. That would make a pretty good MLB shortstop.
Ha-Seong Kim Rumors: The Cost
Current estimates suggest that Kim could expect to sign a contract in the neighborhood of $40 million over five years. If he is as good as many think he can be, this would be a bargain for an MLB shortstop.
The cost does not include the posting fee associated with signing Kim to an MLB contract. Based on the amount of the contract, this will likely amount to somewhere between five and six million dollars, in addition to the contract. Any team signing Kim will have to take that into consideration. Yet, if he is as good as advertised, this will be money well-spent.
Ha-Seong Kim Rumors: Final Thoughts
While we have listed only three teams, it seems likely that more teams are involved in the bidding for Kim. If so, that may drive the price higher for this top prospect. In any case, he will be signing soon, and where he will go is very much up in the air. Stay tuned.
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