Korean outfielder Jae-Hwan Kim’s posting deadline has come and gone without a contract with a Major League club, according to Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News (Twitter link). As such, Kim will return to the KBO League’s Doosan Bears for the 2020 season, and he isn’t eligible to be posted again until November.
After being officially posted on December 6, Kim had until 4pm CT today to work out a deal with an MLB team. Kim’s agency tells Yoo that four Major League clubs had discussions about the outfielder’s services, though the Marlins were the only team publicly known to have interest in Kim, and even that interest may have waned after Corey Dickerson was signed. It’s possible that clubs weren’t comfortable signing a player they knew relatively little about, as Yoo wrote in another piece earlier this week that “Kim came out of blue to enter the open market via posting, which left surprised major league scouts without detailed reports on the player that they could send to their clubs.”
It isn’t known if Kim will again attempt a jump to North American baseball after the 2020 season, when he’ll be 32 years old. Regardless if Kim’s future focus is on the Bears or the big leagues, he’ll certainly look to improve on his 115 home runs and .283/.362/.434 slash line over 574 plate appearances last season. While a respectable performance on paper, it represents a modest showing in the hitter-friendly KBO League, and a big step down from the 116 homers and 1.000+ OPS totals Kim posted from 2016-18.