The period during which teams in the Korea Baseball Organization can post players for MLB teams to bid on has been pushed back by nine days, Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reports. Posting eligibility typically falls between Nov. 1 and Dec. 5, but that will move to Nov. 10 through Dec. 14 in 2020 to align with shifts in the KBO schedule that were brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kiwoom Heroes shortstop Ha-Seong Kim will be the highest-profile name posted, though Yoo also notes that NC Dinos outfielder/designated hitter Sung-Bum Na is eligible for posting as well. Yoo previously reported that Na had hired the Boras Corporation to represent him during potential negotiations with big league clubs, and the outfielder spoke with ESPN’s Marly Rivera earlier this season about his desire to test himself in the Major Leagues. His ability to do so will depend on the Dinos’ willingness to post him, of course. He’s played eight full KBO seasons and would be eligible for free agency next winter, so this would seemingly be the time for the Dinos to make such a move.
Unlike the 24-year-old Kim, Na is closer to the tail end of his prime. He celebrated his 31st birthday just last week and, as Yoo points out, missed most of the 2019 season due to a knee injury. Neither of those facts will do his market any favors, but it’s also hard to overlook just how potent his bat has been when healthy. Na has posted a sensational .318/.387/.600 slash with 31 homers and 31 doubles this season — maintaining a gaudy line even as the offensive levels in the long-hitter-friendly KBO have come down in recent seasons. That checks in more than 50 percent better than league-average, by measure of wRC+, and the 2020 season would be the third time in four years he’s been at least 50 percent better than an average KBO hitter.
It’s easy to get excited by those numbers, though Baseball America ranked Na fifth among potential MLB talents in the KBO earlier this spring and called him a potential platoon right fielder. The left-handed-hitting Na has a strong arm that would fit the position, but his lofty strikeout rates (26.7 percent in the KBO this year) will surely give teams some pause in wondering how his bat will play against Major League pitching.
For those who need a refresher or who are unfamiliar with the posting process, the latest set of rules agreed upon between MLB and the KBO stipulate that all 30 clubs will be able to negotiate with a player who is posted. The posting fee paid to that player’s former team will be tied directly to the size of the contract he signs. It is a separate sum that is paid out to the KBO club as opposed to an amount that is subtracted from the player’s eventual contract. A signing team would pay 20 percent of the contract’s first $25MM, plus 17.5 percent of the next $25MM and an additional 15 percent on any dollars guaranteed beyond $50MM.
With regard to contractual options and incentives, those clauses are also subject to subsequent fees. A Major League team would only be immediately responsible for posting/release fees on the guaranteed portion of the contract. But if a player’s new team in the Majors exercised a club option down the road, for instance, that team would owe a supplemental fee to the player’s former KBO club once the option is picked up.