It has become apparent that the Rangers are not expected to big huge players in the free-agent market.
The names Trevor Bauer, George Springer, J.T. Realmuto, D.J. LeMahieu, and Marcell Ozuna are names that any team could use.
The Rangers will not be players on any of them except possibly Ozuna.
There is, however, one player they should be all over.
The Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization posted star shortstop Ha-Seong Kim for MLB teams this past Wednesday. Kim’s 30-day negotiating window closes at 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 25. The Texas Rangers could get the best present under their Christmas tree if they land him.
Kim is the undisputed best player coming over from Korea. Texas has always been a big player in the Pacific Rim free-agent market. They also have a partnership in Japan with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. They have signed Colby Lewis, Yu Darvish, Tony Barnette, Chris Martin, and Joely Rodriquez from the Nippon Professional Baseball League. Kim would be a different way to go coming from the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO).
Kim is a 25-year-old middle infielder who also can play third base. With Isaiah Kiner-Falefa being a Gold Glove third baseman, Kim would most likely play shortstop or second base.
It’s no secret the Rangers are looking for an upgrade to Rougned Odor. If they are truly going to bench Elvis Andrus or Odor then Kim fits the bill.
His numbers are impressive over the last four years. Since 2017 he has averaged a .300/.380/.500 slash line with a total of 92 HRs. Most scouts consider the KBO to be between AA and AAA level of play. There would be some drop off at the major league level for sure, but the Rangers could use an infielder who could slash around .265/.350/.450 with 15 to 25 HRs. That is worth the money and far better than what they have.
Baseball America gives Kim this scouting report.
“Likely to face an adjustment period at the plate when he first arrives in the U.S., but he has the athleticism and twitches to adjust and eventually hit major-league velocity.”
They added, “He is a good athlete with good instincts at (shortstop) and has the average arm strength to stay on the left side of the infield. He projects to be an above-average hitter and has enough power to hit 12-15 home runs per year in the majors … He is a plus runner who adds value on the bases as well will be considered a top-100 prospect as soon as he signs, though it’s important to note there is quite a bit of variance even within top 100 prospect lists. A top-10 prospect is much more valuable than a prospect in the 80-100 range, for example. That said, Kim is clearly talented and he’s produced at the highest level available to him”.
The biggest question is what it would take to sign him. Seeing how he is only 25 years old, this is the youngest free agent with potential star talent.
The largest contract any KBO player has ever received is Hyun-Jin Ryu, who signed a 6 year $36 million dollar deal with the Dodgers. Most think with Kim’s age and talent, he is likely to break that record. It will likely take 6 years, around $7 to $10 million a year. That is cheap considering what they are paying Elvis Andrus and Odor. Kim would be around for the time it takes the Rangers to compete again.
Christmas is less than a month away. Sometime between now and then, Ha-Seong Kim will most likely be with a major-league team.
The Rangers need to be sitting on Santa’s lap right now begging……… or just go ahead and offer 6 years $60 million.
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