Korean outfield star Hyun-soo Kim has received “multiple offers” from Major League teams, his agents in Korea tell Daniel Kim of KBS Sports (Twitter link). Jee-ho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency also hears from a source that the soon-to-be 28-year-old Kim has “concrete offers” from MLB. While neither reporter lists specific teams, a second source tells Yoo that the Athletics are taking a long look at Kim, as their regional scout in Korea compiled a “glowing report” on Kim, who is nicknamed the “Hitting Machine” in Korea. The Braves have also scouted Kim extensively, according to Yoo, though their outfield situation may not have much room if Hector Olivera is permanently slotted into left field.
Kim is an unrestricted free agent, having completed nine full seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization despite his relatively young age. After debuting and receiving a single plate appearance as an 18-year-old with the KBO’s Doosan Bears, Kim established himself as a regular just 19 years of age, hitting .273/.335/.398 with five homers and five steals in 99 games.
From that point forth, Kim has batted above .300 in all but one season — he hit .291 in 2012 — and posted outstanding on-base percentage marks while showing some power. The left-handed hitter has authored a .318/.406/.488 hitter as a professional in Korea and is coming off his best season: a .326/.438/.541 batting line with a career-high 28 home runs. Kim struck out just 63 times in 630 plate appearances in 2015 (10 percent) against an impressive 101 walks. That should come as no surprise, considering Kim has walked more often than he’s struck out in six of his nine seasons and has 597 walks to 501 strikeouts over the life his tenure in the KBO. Yoo describes Kim’s defense in left field as “solid,” noting that he also showed a bit of versatility by filling in at first base a few times in 2015.
Kim’s Korean agent, Esther Lee, will travel to the United States for next week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville. He is co-represented by the Wasserman Media Group, writes Yoo, who will of course have agents at the meetings as well. In addition to Oakland, some clubs that could be in the market for a left-handed bat in left field include the Angels, Royals, Reds. Orioles, Indians and Giants, though that list is simply speculation on my behalf.