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MLB posting process for KBO star Kim Ha-seong delayed due to paperwork

All News 18:13 December 01, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean All-Star Kim Ha-seong's pursuit of his big league dreams has hit a snag before it began in earnest because of paperwork.

Kim's club, Kiwoom Heroes, asked the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) last Wednesday to post the 25-year-old slugger for major league clubs. Later that same day, the KBO asked Major League Baseball (MLB) to inform its 30 clubs of Kim's availability.

Any interested big league club can negotiate with a posted player for 30 days. The window opens at 8 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the morning after MLB officially notifies its clubs of the player's status, and it closes at 5 p.m. ET on the 30th day.

In this file photo from Oct. 7, 2020, Kim Ha-seong of the Kiwoom Heroes celebrates his solo home run against the NC Dinos during the bottom of the fifth inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. (Yonhap)

But MLB has not yet processed the KBO's request. Kiwoom general manager Kim Chi-hyun told Yonhap News Agency Tuesday that the procedure has been delayed because MLB has asked for additional medical documents.

"MLB asked for papers that we didn't think would be necessary," Kim said. "Kim Ha-seong went for tests at three different hospitals on Monday and we sent those results to the KBO today."

Kim Chi-hyun already had hands-on experience with the posting process, which is why he felt he had prepared everything he could until MLB caught him off guard.

Kim had been the Heroes' head of international affairs and in charge of posting when two of their star players, shortstop Kang Jung-ho and first baseman Park Byung-ho, reached the majors through that route before the 2015 and 2016 seasons, respectively.

The now-general manager wanted to help Kim Ha-seong get a deal done before Christmas and submitted their posting request exactly a month prior to the big holiday, even as the Korean Series was still underway. In prior offseasons, teams typically asked the KBO to post players after the championship series was finished.

MLB likely won't post Kim for its clubs until Wednesday or Thursday, Korean time, at the earliest. The deadline to sign a deal will fall early in the new year.

In this file photo from Sept. 23, 2020, Kim Ha-seong of the Kiwoom Heroes celebrates his two-run home run against the Kia Tigers during the top of the eighth inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Kim, one of the KBO's top power-hitting infielders, is coming off the best season of his career.

He batted .306/.397/.523 in 2020, setting career highs in on-base and slugging percentages, and falling .001 point shy of matching his personal best in batting average.

Kim also established career bests with 30 home runs, and his 109 RBIs and 111 runs scored were the second-highest totals of his career. Kim swiped 23 bags for his second career 20-20 season, and set a KBO record by stealing his first 20 bags without getting caught. For the first time in his career, Kim had more walks (75) than strikeouts (68).

A third-round draft pick out of high school in 2014, Kim has 131 home runs and 130 steals since becoming a regular in 2015. The athletic infielder has a strong arm and also played a bit of third base this year after the Heroes signed former Chicago Cubs All-Star Addison Russell in the summer.

If Kim signs a major league deal, the Heroes will receive a transfer fee depending on the value of that contract.

If the guaranteed value of the deal is US$25 million or less, then the fee will be 20 percent of the contract. And if the contract is worth between $25,000,001 and $50 million, the fee will be 20 percent of the first $25 million, plus 17.5 percent of any amount exceeding that $25 million.

If Kim signs for more than $50 million, the Heroes will receive $9,375,000 and then 15 percent of the amount exceeding $50 million.

The KBO also asked MLB to post NC Dinos' outfielder Na Sung-bum on Monday.

In this file photo from Sept. 11, 2020, Kim Ha-seong of the Kiwoom Heroes hits a double against the LG Twins in the top of the fourth inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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