Sung-Bum Na has made no secret of his desire to play in the majors. He had been posted during the previous offseason, but returned to the Korean Baseball Organization after he failed to draw a contract. Major League Baseball requested a status check on Na this offseason, indicating that at least one team had interest, but as he was a year away from international free agency, he would need to be posted again.
That is not likely to happen this offseason. Na has signed a six year, $12.6 million contract with the Kia Tigers, a deal that is tied for the largest in KBO history.
Sung-Bum Na ends MLB dream with new contract
As Na is already 32 years old, this contract likely ends any chance of his coming stateside. He would be 38 years old when the deal comes to an end, and major league teams are not going to be interested in an aging slugger who is unproven at the highest level. Unless he is posted again, which seems highly unlikely, those dreams of playing in the majors are over.
That will not change what Na has meant in the KBO. He has been a star in South Korea, spending his nine year career with the NC Dinos before signing with the Tigers. In that time, Na has posted a solid .312/.378/.538 batting line, hitting 211 doubles and 273 doubles. He had been a speed threat at the beginning of his career, but a knee injury that required surgery has sapped him of his speed.
While he missed most of the 2019 season due to that injury, Na has been solid since his return. He produced a .281/.337/.506 batting line in his 618 plate appearances last year, hitting 32 homers and 29 doubles. Although that batting line is below his career norms, it was still far above league average last season.
Na will provide the Tigers with a power element that was desperately needed. The Tigers hit a grand total of 65 homers last season, with Hyoung Woo Choi (12) and Dae In Hwang (13) as the only players to reach double digits. The Tigers still need to add more pop to the lineup, but Na is the perfect start.
Sung-Bum Na has signed a six year deal with the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization. His major league dreams are seemingly over.