By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) -- Major League Baseball (MLB) has checked on the availability of South Korean outfielder Na Sung-bum, league officials here said Friday, a move indicating interest in the slugger from North America.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said it informed MLB that Na is currently under contract with the NC Dinos.
Under an agreement between MLB and the KBO, a major league team interested in a South Korean player, professional or amateur, must complete the status check through the league offices. Once MLB requests a status check, the KBO must respond within four business days. In these instances, MLB must not reveal the identity of big league clubs inquiring about the Korean player in question.
Having completed eight full seasons out of college, Na, 32, will become eligible for domestic free agency after the conclusion of the postseason. This means Na, if he exercises that right, will be free to sign with any KBO team, but he is not yet free to sign with an MLB team unless he goes through the posting process.
Na was posted for MLB teams last winter but failed to land a deal. He returned to the Dinos for 2021, hitting 33 home runs and driving in 101 runs with a .281/.335/.509 line.
He has hit 20 or more home runs seven times and knocked in 100-plus runs five times in a season over his career.
Na has hit 212 home runs and picked up 830 RBIs in 1,081 career games, with a lifetime .312/.378/.538 line.
Na can be posted again this winter. He will become a full international free agent after the 2022 season.
Na debuted with the Dinos in 2013 but missed a huge chunk of the 2019 season due to a knee injury. He bounced back in 2020 with a 34-homer, 112-RBI campaign, and played all 144 games this year.
Under the posting system, any interested MLB club can negotiate with the posted KBO player during a 30-day window.
And if that player signs a major league contract, his former KBO club will receive a transfer fee of sorts, depending on the guaranteed portion of the contract.