Kim Ha-seong (26) of the Kiwoom Heroes has completed the process to join the US Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres. The batter has broken the previous record of contract amounts in the KBO League pitcher posting system (closed competitive bid) and moved to the ‘Dream Stage.’
Kim Ha-seong’s agency ASPEC Corporation said Friday the infielder Kim is guaranteed 28 million US dollars (30.46 billion won) for four years by San Diego. When including the incentives linked with the number of at-bats, Kim can receive up to 32 million dollars (34.81 billion won). When the mutual option of 7 million dollars is implemented for another year after the four-year contract period ends, the total ransom value for five years jumps to up to 39 million dollars (42.43 billion won).
Earlier, after news on Kim’s transfer to San Diego was first reported, news reports in the US suggested that he would a contract worth 7 million dollars on average per year. Just as local media in the U.S. forecasted, Kim Ha-seong’s contract has been concluded at the range of 7 million to 7.8 million dollars on average per year. When only considering the confirmed amount (7 million US dollars on average), the contract entails the largest amount ever, which exceeds the six million-dollar (36 million dollars for six years) deal left-handed pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (currently Toronto Blue Jays) signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012.
The San Diego Padres officially announced Friday, “We have put Greg Allen on standby for release to include Kim Ha-seong on our roster of 40 players. Kim will be the first Korean-born baseball player ever to join the team.” The team’s Twitter showed a photo of him signing and a message in Korean reading “Kim Ha-seong, welcome to San Diego.”
Kiwoom, the KBO team that is sending Kim to the US, is set to receive 5.525 million dollars (6.01 billion won) for the transfer fee. According to the agent contract agreement between KBO and MLB, which was revised in 2018, if a KBO player moves to MLB through the posting system and signs a contract worth 25 million dollars to 50 million dollars based on a guaranteed amount, the former team is entitled to receive a transfer fee of 20 percent (5 million dollars) for up to 25 million dollars, and 17.5 percent of the amount between 25 million dollars to 50 million dollars. For Kim, who has signed a guaranteed contract worth 28 million dollars, a transfer fee has been fixed at 5 million dollars, or 20 percent of the 25 million dollars, plus 525,000 dollars, or 17.5 percent of the remaining 3 million dollars.
Out of the five South Korean baseball players who have moved to MLB through the posting system, Kim is boasting the highest annual average salary. However, the amount of transfer fee he accorded to his original team is the third-highest ever after the 25,737,737 dollars for pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin and the 12,850,000 dollars for Park Byung-ho. When Ryu (2012) and Park (2015) made a posting, a team that offered to pay the highest transfer fee was entitled to take the exclusive right for negotiation.
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