Matthew Cerrone: Sandy Alderson has shown a reluctance to give multi-year deals to guys with big-league track records at positions he says he wants to fill. So, why all of a sudden is he going to bid on -- and negotiate -- for a guy with zero big-league experience, who may or may not stick as a shortstop, who scouts all seem to be split on, who will cost a multimillion, multi-year deal? It just doesn't add up to me. So, my hunch is the Mets make a low-ball bid and negotiate if they can. If it works out for them, great; if not, they won't lose sleep...
That said, do I want the Mets to sign him? Honestly, I have no idea. I can't sit here and pretend I know Kang is worth a total of, say, $35 million over three years. I've never seen him play and I literally just learned about him a few months ago. I've talked to enough insiders who can't seem to give a straight answer about that guy and, when coupled with being built and swinging like Tsuyoshi Shinjo, it's all enough to make me hesitant about acquiring him.
Kang hit 38 HR with 107 RBI for his team in Korea, where there was an 40% league-wide increase in run production last season.
[sny-details title="More information and scouting reports on Kang..."]
That said, a talent evaluator with a background in scouting Kang said he possesses a good enough feel for the strike zone to make the necessary adjustments in America (Newsday, Dec. 15).
Similarly, ESPN's Keith Law recently said, "I see a swing that will generate legit plus power. ... The swing is rotational. ... It's a power swing more than a hitting-for-average swing."
In terms of his fielding, there are questions about whether he can play a big-league shortstop on grass not turf. Wilmer Flores may actually be better on the infield, a talent evaluator recently said (Newsday, Dec. 15).
In the end, "He has very good bat speed and the potential for power, but I worry he'll struggle to catch up to big-league fastballs," an international scout told MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone last week, comparing Kang to free-agent SS Asdrubal Cabrera. "He's an adequate fielder with decent reactions and a below-average arm who is probably best suited for right field or second base."
In addition to the estimated $10-15 million posting fee, which goes to the team in Korea, Kang is expected cost at least a two- to three-year deal, according to MLB insiders (MetsBlog, Dec. 10).[/sny-details]