The Morning Report – December 15 – Jung-Ho Kang, Mike Piazza


Under the weather this morning... posting just enough to get a discussion going...

113 days until opening day.

According to Rotoworld[i], the Mets did/do have some interest in SS Jung-Ho Kang[ii] and most probably bid something yesterday when his name went up on the bard. Remember now, all this means is they could be bidding for the honor of approaching him to sign a contract to play in New York. 

I just don’t see how you can calculate and translate a guy that hit .354/39-HR, 115-RBI in a bush league like this, into an MLB projection

Scouting report[iii]

. One of Kang’s biggest tools is his raw power. Although the shortstop position puts heavy emphasis on defense, Kang has been one of the best sluggers in KBO for years, hitting at least 20 HR in three straight seasons (the only shortstop in the KBO to do so). He also makes good contact and can get on base. Defensively, Kang is known for his strong arm. Although he is not very agile in the field, his strong arm makes up for it in his ability to play the shortstop position. However, he has committed errors in routine plays at times, which has led some experts to doubt whether he can be an everyday shortstop in MLB.

He’s 27-years old and Greek to me, and all you’re doing here is pissing into the wind by spending money to a team rather than the player.

I’m sorry, but posting sucks and I pass on stuff like this

I know history always proves me wrong on investments like this, but, one again… I’m sticking with Wilmer Flores on opening day…

Erik Hudson sent me a very interesting article on Mike Piazza and his thoughts about the 2015 Mets:

“I think that the offense situation will be addressed. David Wright obviously has to come back, hopefully he’s healthy the whole year. He is a big keystone in that lineup, he’s the big guy and you need to put good hitters around him, guys that can get on base and manufacture runs. I never enjoyed playing for a team that was so streaky offensively. The team that we were on, was one thing you can say is that we were able to manufacture runs when we weren’t swinging the bat that well. That does two things: 1) It allows you to win those games that you should win—one run games that will get you to the playoffs and beyond; and 2) It gives the pitching staff a break. It takes the burden off of them because they know that they’re going to get those games. You know when you win the 7-1, winning the 8-1 games, that’s great but those 1-0, 2-1 games are the ones you need to really prove that you can win and will give the pitching staff more confidence. So I’ve always wanted to do my job offensively for the pitching staff so that they felt more confident.
Check out the entire article[iv]


Thomas Brennan said...

Morning, Mack

In Korean: Good Morning (as a greeting) is:
joheun achimibnida 좋은 아침 입니다 but pronounced like
cho- hun- ah- chim - imm- ni-da

Pretty similar to that Cuban SS's name, actually.

Answer as to whether to post? You can always say 설마 (seolma). It basically means "no way", but can take on several similar meanings depending on the tone of your voice.

Wilmer is my SS. Period. And I will definitely not sway on that point until at least this afternoon.

One point I will NOT sway on is Piazza's point emphasizing offense in taking burdens off our pitchers. Once again, Harvey was 9-5 with 12 NDs in 2013. I clearly recall being beyond aggravated that what could be a Cy Young season (before he got hurt) was being scuttled by BAD offense and BAD bullpen. We now have a good pen, how about a GREAT offense in 2015 to help those pitchers and win games?

Christopher Soto said...

I see no differences between Kang and Flores in my opinion.

One could probably safely say that Kang's skills will translate into a .250 Avg with 20 HR power and below average defense at SS.

How is that any different from Flores who STEAMER projects to produce a .255 Avg with 16 HR and below average defense?

Ernest Dove said...

The only thing more confusing to me then rule 5 and super 2, is the posting system for Asian players.......
Why is it an MLB teams fault that player A wants off his countries team? Again I know nothing here, so maybe they don't have the power that mlb players (and their agents) do in regards to contracts etc. Maybe its like the equivalent of the Mets Harvey wheeler and deGrom. Maybe these Asian players are still deep into 'team control' years, and so if they want out, the team wants to be well compensated for the original investment they made in him.

Christopher Soto said...


Your last sentence is correct.

Generally these players are at the top of the talent pool in their respective countries and are still under contract with their current teams.

In order to play in the MLB the player's team needs to be compensated in order to terminate their contract early. Even if the team chooses not to post, Foreign players still have the ability to play in the MLB once they gain free agency in their foreign leagues.

Most of the time(just like with the MLB trade market), once a team recognizes that the player is hell bent on playing in the MLB and they will not be able to sign him back, they will want to gain something from him via the posting system rather then letting him go for nothing.

Lew Rhodes said...

I am excited about Kang - the last time the Mets bid on an Asian SS it was a resounding success (cue note on sarcasm)

Adam Smith said...

I read that the baseball that they use in Korea is smaller than a standard MLB ball. They apparently made the ball smaller a few years ago in order to perk up offensive production, and it worked by around 20% or so.

There is every reason to believe that this kid will struggle here, and yet, I can just see the Wilpons dreaming about thousands of Korean fans coming from across Queens to the ballpark every night to watch him. In a strict calculation of bringing a fan base to a ballpark, he's worth more to the Mets than any other team in baseball, including the Dodgers.

If they think that he could be equal, or even just not a whole lot worse than Flores, they're going to make a run at him, simply because of that calculus. Money over baseball, again and again and again.

By the way, Tom, how do you say "who is this idiot, and why is he managing my team?" in Korean? I want to be able to follow his interview after the first game.

Anonymous said...

ummm, so it looks like our fellow Cesar Puello finally got back to back starts down in the Winter Leagues. So how did he do? Ok, I guess, I mean if you call 6-9 with 2HR, 1 2B, 3SB, 1BB, 3R and 4 RBIS OK. Alright, he made an error too, but good grief, they finally put him on the field to start and he goes nuts
Anon Joe F

Adam Smith said...

They are going to lose Puello, and they are going to regret it. And I'll spend his entire career pulling my hair out.

Christopher Soto said...

@Joe F.

Way to ruin the surprise in my daily Winter League reports.


Thomas Brennan said...

Adam, the best I can do towards a Sandy departure is Sayonara.

Perhaps "hasta la vista, baby" can be substituted.

Hey Anon Joe F: Puello must be part bear, and has come out of hibernation and he's HUNGRY!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't resist after I saw his stats over the weekend, I have been anxiously awaiting his chance and boy did he make the most of it and a lot of it was off RH pitching. Those are some crazy stat lines and if he threw a runner out, it would have been ideal.

I still think you need to risk the 25th spot to him for April over Soup because of the bat, speed and OF defense. There are enough gloves to cover 3B if DW gets hurt and if it is extended, you can DL and bring up another player. I don't think that Soup would even get the call because his defense at 3B was weak. Let the Beast out there for a month, if he succeeds, it is a win, if he flops that better chances to clear waivers.
Anon Joe F

Reese Kaplan said...

Nothing like a good 39-man roster crunch to make someone shake off their rust...don't the Mets still have to drop someone to make the acquisitions of Gilmartin and Mayberry official?

Christopher Soto said...


The Gilmartin acquisition was immediate so the 40 man roster is currently full.

The Mets will need to DFA someone in order to make room for Mayberry Jr.

It is anticipated that either Goeddel or German are at the most risk for DFA.

That said a Dillon Gee trade could also free up that spot but the Hot Stove has gone quite since everyone left the San Diego meetings. Teams are probably meeting with their local reps to align on everything that was discussed.

Hot Stove will probably kick back up mid week.

Anonymous said...

Puello just got his first back to back starts, before that he was just defensive replacement or pinch runner, so hopefully this earns him some more starts. My guess would be Tovar or German as the DFA candidates...or at least I hope
Anon Joe F

Christopher Soto said...

@Joe F.

I think Tovar's spot is safe for 1 more season. Once Reynolds is added to the 40 man roster though in September, Tovar's days as a Met are done.

Hobie said...

I think you are right, Chris. 24 pitchers on the 40-man right now. Most teams carry 20-22.

Reese Kaplan said...

Too bad they couldn't create the roster vacancy by dropping Terry Collins...that move would add almost as many wins as would Troy Tulowitzki

Richard Jones said...

If it were just money I would say go ahead and sign him. It is not my money. How ever with the Mets it will limit future moves being they're tight with money.
Kang doesn't seem to be much of an upgrade to Flores if an upgrade at all.
I want Moncada. Use all the current budget for him. He ma not be an impact for 2015 but he is a future all star.
Kang would add depth and competition at ss but he is not worth the moey if your on a budget.

Herb G said...

I am so up in the air on Flores. I would love to see him get a decent shot, because I believe he can develop into an elite hitter, But Flores is not a sure thing, and Kang is an intriguing possibility.

I believe with the new posting rules, several teams can negotiate with the player and his reps. I'm not sure if the bids must be the same to be in the running, but I recall someone with knowledge of the situation saying that a bid of about $10 million would be necessary. If you add that to the rumored 2 years/$24 million that MLBTredeRumors says he is looking for, it translates to a little over $11 million a year. Is he worth that kind of investment?

I would guess that he should be able to muster a .250 - .280 avg with pretty good plate discipline and enough pop to generate 15 - 20 HR. If he can come through with those numbers, he is probably worth it. One scout said that if he could not stick at SS, with his arm he could play the outfield. However, it seems like our outfield may be set for at least 2 years and quite possibly for far into the future if Nimmo and Conforto deliver, as expected, and Lagares continues to develop, as I think he will. So it all comes down to whether the baseball brains in Flushing believe he can stick at short.

All that saiid, I think I will stick with Wilmer.

Mack Ade said...

Guys -

I apologize for my lack of commenting and depth of my Morning Reports lately. I'm REALLY under the weather.

I'll have a short posting up tomorrow morning that will hopefully open up the discussions all day and then we will take off on Tuesday for the holiday.

The 'Z-Pack' I'm taking runs out by then and, hopefully, I'll get back both my strength and desire to post

TP said...

Good conversation. We all would like to see another bat, preferably at SS, but I am more worried about the middle infield defense and offensively about the leadoff position.
The Mets still have no reliable leadoff hitter. I love Lagares, his glove, and his commitment to improve, and I can live with him leading off vs. RHP. This is what troubles me about the Mayberry signing. Den Dekker is the only other current player that shows leadoff hitter capabilities.
Go out and get a real glove to go with Wilmer and Murphy. I hope the Mayberry deal is not fully guaranteed, or the Mets will be bold enough to bump him should MDD, Puello, or both win a job in March.

Herb G said...

TP -

For better or for worse, with EY Jr. being DFA'd, Lagares is your leadoff hitter. In August and September (173 PA) he hit .286 with 10 SB and only 1 CS. I think he can handle the leadoff spot.

Mayberry does have a guaranteed contract, so he is your 4th OF, like it or not. It sounds as if you are conceding the 5th OF spot to Nieuwenhuis. I think MDD or Puello still has a shot to make the team in March. But eiother way, I think we have a pretty strong bench with the team constituted as it is now.

eraff said...

I'm concerned about Lagares and offenbsive regression...and I really like him as a Player. His stats last year elevated above his first year, but it was virtually ALL BABIP....LUCK?

He's athletic, competitive, and there could be a long term hitter in that package...otherwise, his supporting stats are unchanged through almost 800 MLB ab's.

Generally, young guys with his "approach" either grow as hitters (and certainly in approach) or they fade. I'm hoping to see growth beyond See It/Swing It. Otherwise, he's a 7/8 hitter...and not a good long range bet.

Thomas Brennan said...

Kirk can join Germen elsewhere. I'd prefer Puello and Dekker be retained.

My guess is that Puello will play a stretch - may he remain hotter than hot and throw himself firmly into the conversation.

We are all discussing a perfect world, which excludes injuries, which often seem to pop up in the spring, and which could make room for someone in the spring who may look to be on the fringe now.

Richard Jones said...

Puello post steroids is nothing more than a AAA bench player. Take him out of Vegas and put him in Citi Field and you would be lucky to get deGrom like offensive numbers from him.

Lew Rhodes said...

I see MDD making the team with Mayberry - he may be the second best defense CFer in the MLB - so he can spot Lagares without any defensive lapse.

Plus MDD has plus power and plus speed - great for a bench player

I am torn on Puello - there had to be a baseball reason he sat so much last year - say what you want about Sandy - he wouldn't let his only real AAA hiting prospect sit on the bench for no reason.

Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon Mack:
Just waking up off of night shift.
I would rather the Mets management spend there money on players already in there system.
Give Wheeler Duda d'Arnaud and Lagares extensions. Then spend on someone who may be as good as Flores.
Let Flores start and play the bulk of games till June if he struggles then you make a trade,or call up Reynolds?
But give the guy an opportunity to play. His time with the METS to me,is looking a lot like Kevin Mitchell!! Good bat playes everywhere,traded elsewhere then becomes an NL, MVP!! I don't want to see him given up on just yet.

Have a good day

Mack Ade said...

Steve -


I'm just not big on the whole Korean system.

If they produced great ballplayers, they would be all over this league for years.

Anonymous said...

Not sure I agree; Biogenisis was closed before he had his big season and unless he tested positive (he may have-they did not release details on those that accepted suspension) during his time at Bingo, but he also flashed at times in Vegas, particularly against LH pitching. I don't see the harm of him starting as the 25th man for April and if he flops, move Soup up and DFA him in May. My gut still tells me that Puello has real skills and if he is only facing LH pitching and late inning defense, he will produce
Anon Joe F

Herb G said...

eraff - I'd like you to look at Carlos Gomez's stats over his first several years.He did not blossom out until his age 26 season. I see similarities in Lagares and Gomez. If we can have carbon copy of the kid we lost, wouldn't you take it?

Thomas Brennan said...

I AGREE WITH ANON JOE F: I'd lean towards Puello over Soup, as if now. I feel Soup may be following the trajectory of Josh Satin, and that on a team that should have a stronger bench than 2014, a Puello could be carried to see if he'll develop.

We forget how long it can sometimes take for a guy to click. I've used the example of Jim Hickman in the 1960's with the Mets - mediocre for years, goes to Cubs and has an outstanding year offensively.

A much more recent example, and of someone with similar skill set, is Carlos Gomz, who mostly stunk from ages 21 through 25 and then his last 3 years have been very solid. Soup has no such upside. Puello might.

Lew Rhodes said...

As much as I cheered for the kid, I see no way Soup makes the team absent several injuries.

With Flores and even Murphy, there is no need of a back up 3b - they both can play there.

The bench will have a C, MI, Mayberry, MDD and (right now) Puello

Soup may make the early roster before the team needs a 5th starter - but doubt he sticks.

MDD and Puello are both plus defenders (MDD is plus-plus) and have good speed on the bases - two must haves for the bench.

Honestly, right now our bench is solid to good - Mayberry, MDD and Puello are great for there roles and Ruben is a much better back-up MI than we have had in the past (Q anyone?)

I just wish we had a better back-up catcher than Recker

Charles said...

I don't care either way as far as the Korean goes. I will say that I'd be more confident that Flores produces better then this guy. However, the Mets have scouts and they may love this guy yet for some reason, haven't been enamored with the last 5 Cubans that have signed and all became stars.

Thomas Brennan said...

Lew I do think Monell gives Recker a real run for his $. Batting lefty is an excellent mix with d'Arnaud until Plawecki forces his way into the majors.

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