According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s are among teams interested in the power hitting Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang. In 116 games in 2014, Kang posted a .364/.457/.733 line with 39 home runs. The obvious question is if his power can translate into Major League success, especially given the pronounced leg kick that he uses in his swing. There is a concern that once he faces the higher velocity of the MLB pitchers that he may have trouble catching up. At any rate, 39 home runs and a .364 average is something to take notice of.
This move may or may not be a longshot for the Mets, who have had a rough time finding for an upgrade at shortstop over Wilmer Flores for some time this off-season. Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson was quoted in his pre-winter meetings talk with reporters as saying that “Everyone wants something for nothing.” The Mets have had a tough time exploring international free agents over the last few seasons due to salary restrictions, but with Kang at age 27, he may be able to be signed on a relatively shorter deal of possibly 2-3 years.
The interest on the part of the Giants is obvious as they recently lost Pablo Sandoval to the Boston Red Sox via free agency and need someone to man third base. On the part of the A’s, they have been searching for a shortstop all off-season, so checking in on Kang seems like a no-brainer. Kang is expected to be posted next week. Baseball Essential will have more information as it becomes available.