Outfielder Hyun-soo Kim of the Korea Baseball Organization is getting "a long look" from the Oakland Athletics, according to a report by Yoo Jee-ho of the Yonhap News Agency. According to Yoo's source, "A regional scout for the A's compiled a 'glowing report' on Kim that has piqued interest among higher-ups." Kim is a free agent, meaning a separate international posting fee is not required.
According to Leeco Agency, free agent OF Kim Hyun-soo already recieved multiple contract offers from #MLB teams.— Daniel Kim 대니얼 김 (@DanielKimW) December 2, 2015
Kim turns 28 in January and has been playing regularly in the KBO since he turned 19. He owns the third-highest career batting average among active players in the KBO, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, with a career .318/.406/.488 batting line in nine seasons with the Doosan Bears. Kim surged to 28 home runs in the 144-game KBO season last year, and hit 17 and 16 in the 128-game campaigns the previous two years.
The inaugural WBSC Premier12 named Kim its tournament MVP after leading South Korea to victory, including a win over the United States in the championship game. He went 8-for-28 with two doubles and a triple and drove in 10 runs.
Nico put Kim on his "Holy Grail" list on November 27, writing:
The number of competitors for Kim's services, and his price, should be [suppressed] by the unusual number of talented LFers testing the free agent market this off-season: Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon, Ben Zobrist, Gerardo Parra, and Dexter Fowler head up a deep class of LFers looking for a home.
But is Kim any good? Is he really good? How good is he? Of course nobody knows for sure, but what we do know is that Kim played in one of the tougher hitting environments in the KBO and is coming off a 2015 season in which he batted .326/.438/.541. For his career, Kim has walked 597 times and struck out 501 times, a ratio you rarely see at any level of any league and a skill-set that predicts a better chance of success in MLB.
Oakland's left field depth is an area for improvement, of course. Though Mark Canha could get a lot of time as an everyday player in left field with recently acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso hitting against right-handers, Alonso himself has dealt with enough injury issues that could force Canha back to first base.
Coco Crisp has injury issues of his own while Kim has barely missed any time in the KBO, though that is perhaps aided by the shorter season, only recently expanded to 144 games from 128. The other outfielders on the depth chart have only limited MLB experience (Jake Smolinski and Andrew Lambo) or suffered significant fall offs in their offensive performance (Sam Fuld).
Yoo reports that Kim's South Korean agent is expected to attend next week's Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.
Reliever Fernando Abad elected free agency after he cleared waivers and was outrighted by the Oakland A's, according to Bill Moriarity of Athletics Farm. Had the out-of-options left-hander been tendered a major league contract, he was projected to earn $1.5 million at arbitration by the Matt Swartz model at MLB Trade Rumors.