No MLB club bids for posted S. Korean 3B Hwang Jae-gyun

December 7, 2015
Hwang Jae-gyun of the Lotte Giants practices for the South Korean national team during the Premier 12 tournament in Tokyo on Nov. 20, 2015. (Yonhap file photo)

Hwang Jae-gyun of the Lotte Giants practices for the South Korean national team during the Premier 12 tournament in Tokyo on Nov. 20, 2015. (Yonhap file photo)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — No Major League Baseball (MLB) club put in a bid for posted South Korean third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun, the top South Korean baseball league said Saturday.

After the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) delivered the news to the Lotte Giants, Hwang, 28, can now enter contract talks with interested teams in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) or return to the Giants for at least one more season.

Hwang was the third KBO player to be posted this offseason and second straight to fail to draw a bid, after his Lotte teammate, outfielder Son Ah-seop last month. The first KBO player not to receive a posting bid was former Doosan Bears reliever Jin Pil-joong in 2002.

The Giants posted Son before Hwang, since a KBO club is allowed to post only one player at a time. They did so based on Son’s superior offensive numbers over the past five seasons.

Former Nexen Heroes first baseman Park Byung-ho was the first KBO player on to be posted this year, and he has signed a four-year, US$12 million deal with the Minnesota Twins, which put in a $12.85 million bid in posting. He and Kang Jung-ho of the Pittsburgh Pirates, also a former Nexen All-Star, remain the only two position players to make the jump from the KBO to the majors via posting.

In 2015, Hwang enjoyed his most productive season of his nine-year career, setting personal highs with 26 home runs, 97 RBIs, 95 runs scored, 41 doubles and a .521 slugging percentage. He also swiped 11 bases, the eighth straight season in which he swiped at least 10 bags.

Hwang was drafted as a shortstop in 2006 and made his KBO debut in 2007 with the now-defunct Hyundai Unicorns.

The Nexen Heroes replaced the Unicorns in 2008. Hwang moved from shortstop to third base during that season, as Kang Jung-ho took over at short.

Hwang was traded to the Giants during the 2010 season and developed into an All-Star. After never hitting more than 18 homers in any of his first eight seasons, Hwang belted 26 in 2015.

Hwang, listed at 183 centimeters and 90 kilograms (6 feet and 198 pounds) hasn’t missed a game since July 2011 and has appeared in 594 consecutive games, the longest active streak and fifth all-time in the KBO.

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