NOV. 20: The deadline to submit bids for Son has been pushed to Monday at 5pm ET, according to a report from Yonhap (Korean link). The reason for the delay is that while Lotte requested Son to be posted on Nov. 16, MLB didn’t formally process the request until Nov. 17. At the time the posting was formalized, it was already Nov. 18 in Korea (as noted below, Korea is 14 hours ahead of United States Eastern Time).
The delay creates an uncomfortable situation for Son, who will begin his mandatory four-week military training next Monday (which would put the end date on Dec. 18). As Yoo noted in his column below, Son doesn’t have to actually serve in the military because of his status as a Gold Medal winner from the 2014 Asian Games, but even pro athletes who earn their way out of the requirement must still complete the training. It’s possible, then, that Son won’t immediately know the results of his own posting due to his training schedule.
NOV. 16: Son was officially posted yesterday, Yonhap’s Jee-ho Yoo writes. The bidding process on Son will be open until Nov. 20, and the Giants will learn of the accepting bid on Nov. 21. They’ll then have until Nov. 26 to make their decision on whether or not to accept. If a bid is accepted, the winning team will have 30 days from the time it is accepted to negotiate a contract with Son. It should be noted that South Korea is 14 hours ahead of United States Eastern Time, meaning those deadlines will actually pass at 10am ET on those days in North America (as we saw when the Byung-ho Park news broke early Monday morning last week).
Those interested in Son can check out a highlight reel recently compiled by his agents and posted to YouTube.
As was the case with Byung-ho Park of the KBO’s Nexen Heroes — a first baseman for whom the Twins secured negotiation rights with a $12.85MM posting fee earlier today — big league clubs will have five days to bid on Son. After that point, Lotte will have to decide whether or not to accept the bid. An announcement as to which team posted the winning bid — if an acceptable bid is indeed made — would come one week from the date of his posting. From the point the bid is accepted, the winning team would have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Son and his agent, Rick Thurman of the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
Son is a 27-year-old corner outfielder that has consistently posted strong marks in batting average and on-base percentage over the past five seasons in KBO. In that time, he’s batted .333/.409/.476, averaging 12 home runs and 16 stolen bases per season. This past season was one of Son’s best, as he .317/.406/.472 with 13 homers and 11 steals. Son makes plenty of contact, striking out in just 15.6 percent of his career plate appearances in Korea and drawing more walks (80) than strikeouts (78) in 2014. He’s walked at a 10.8 percent clip in his KBO career.
Son’s posting is worth keeping an eye on, as Korea’s Giants actually have a pair of players that asked to be posted this offseason: Son and third baseman Jae-gyun Hwang. However, KBO rules stipulate that a team can only accept a bid on one player per offseason and can only post one player at a time. If the team does not receive a bid to its liking on Son, or if Son and BHSC aren’t able to come to terms with a team that does make an acceptable bid in the allotted 30-day negotiation window, the Giants will reportedly immediately post Hwang for MLB clubs.
Due to the fact that Son has two remaining years of service time remaining, Lotte needn’t feel any pressure to accept the highest bid. The club could pass on the bids if none is deemed strong enough to part with two years of one of the team’s better hitters, which would mean that Son would simply return to the team in 2016. He could then be posted again next winter. The same cannot be said of Hwang, who would qualify for free agency following the 2016 season and could make himself available to MLB clubs without the restrictions of the posting system.