Korean outfielder Ah-seop Son did not draw any bids after being posted recently by KBO’s Lotte Giants, Jee-ho Yoo of Yonhap News reports on Twitter. That means that Lotte will retain his rights, though Yoo tweets that Son could also end up joining a Japanese club.
The news comes as something of a surprise, as it had seemed that the 27-year-old would draw some interest. MLB teams have shown an increased willingness to pay for Korean talent, and Son offers a high-contact, high-OBP bat at a prime age. Over the last five years, he’s averaged a robust .333/.409/.476 slash in the hitter-friendly KBO.
While his situation is interesting in its own right, there are other factors at play here as well. Lotte controls Son for the 2017 season as well as this one, meaning the team might not have been as willing to let him go. He’ll also be eligible for posting again next winter.
Meanwhile, it’s now or never for the team to cash in on another key player: third baseman Jae-gyun Hwang. Because the KBO rule book only allows clubs to take one bid per offseason, only one of those two players — both of whom requested to be posted — could end up moving to North American this year.
Today’s news, then, clears the way for Hwang to test the waters. Lotte is reportedly prepared to do just that. While there’s some disagreement as to which player stands the better chance at a successful transition to the majors, with Hwang’s huge 2015 season standing out somewhat against his overall track record, there appears to be less supply available on the hot corner market.