The Chicago White Sox need a starting third baseman as they haven’t had a consistent starter at the hot corner since Joe Crede left after the 2008 season. The White Sox will look to find a starting third baseman through free agency or trade this offseason and could also explore options through signing an international free agent.
Jae-Gyun Hwang of the Korea Baseball Organization Lotte Giants was posted by his team on November 30. MLB teams will have a week to submit blind bids to negotiate a contract with Hwang. The 28-year old shortstop and third baseman has played 1,057 games over nine seasons in the KBO and acclaimed notoriety this past baseball season due to a bat flip during a game this past July.
Hwang, compiled a career slash line of batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage at (.280/.343/.417) in the KBO. He had a career-high in home runs during 2015 with 26 and added 97 RBI for the Lotte Giants. Hwang could indeed fill a need for the White Sox this offseason as he can either play shortstop or third base for the team. The native of Seoul, South Korea was a five-time all-star in the KBO, is fifth in games played at 594 and won the 2015 KBO Home Run Derby.
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In order for the White Sox to sign Hwang, they will need to outbid other teams. Last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to bid for Jung-Ho Kang at $5 million and later signed the shortstop and third baseman to a four-year $11 million contract. Kang hit .287 with 15 home runs and 58 RBI in his first MLB season. The White Sox aren’t likely to spend much this offseason, but they should at least submit a worthy bid for Hwang. The defensive stats for Hwang aren’t easily available but there is a small glimpse of his skills via YouTube. Accompanied by his defensive efforts is an impressive highlight reel of Hwang’s career in the KBO.
The Lotte Giants could also decline any bid and keep Hwang or he can turn down a contract offer and return to the KBO team. This would then make Hwang a free agent after the 2016 MLB regular season. If the White Sox are serious about contending, they will certainly look to sign Hwang if they can submit the winning bid.