South Korea’s Sports World reported that left-hand pitcher Gwanghyun Kim has left for San Diego from Seoul-Incheon International Air Port. 26-year-old Kim, who was offered a 2 million dollar contract by the San Diego Padres and now will begin negotiations with insiders of the MLB (Major League Baseball) ball club regarding details of the contract.
It is believed that the San Diego Padres are highly interested in Kim, who is considered one of Korea’s best pitchers. Kim’s KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) ball club, the Incheon SK Wyverns had accepted the Padres’ rather low-priced offer, expressing they wanted to support Kim in his ambition to play baseball in the world’s greatest professional league. However, ever since the Wyverns accepted the Padres’ offer in mid-November, there barely any progress has been made in negotiations.
While in San Diego, Kim will be put through a series of medical checkups before negotiating with his potential first Major League ball club. The crucial point of the talks will be centered around a guaranteed spot in the Major League, and money. While some are highly anticipating generous results, others are not so optimistic. Jae-woo Song, a commentator for Major League Baseball for MBC in South Korea expressed that it will be difficult for Kim to be guaranteed a full-time Major League status. Even Hynu Jin Ryu (LA Dodgers) who signed a 6-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, was unable to gain this benefit while negotiating with the help of his agent, Scott Boras. He even added that the fact that the Padres only offered 2 million USD is that the team is still unsure of Kim’s capabilities as a starter.
Nonetheless, many Korean baseball fans are expressing great excitement at the prospect that the KBO will produce its second MLB player after Hyun Jin Ryu in 2012. Meanwhile, another Korean pitcher, Hyunjong Yang was offered 1.7 million USD by the Texas Rangers. However, his team, the Gwangju KIA Tigers had declined the offer, and Yang is now reported to be considering an offer made by a number of Japanese teams including the Osaka Orix Buffalos.
Another Korean player, short stop Jung-Ho Kang (Seoul Nexen Heroes), will be beginning negotiations with multiple MLB teams beginning in mid-December. Kang is expected to be KBO’s first field player to move onto the Major League.