So far this offseason, there has not been that much traction towards the St. Louis Cardinals and other impending free agents. The team is actively searching for a left-handed pitcher to add to the rotation though and might be close to a deal with a KBO southpaw.
The St. Louis Cardinals have been rumored to be interested in some available arms such as Dallas Keuchel and Cy Young runner up Hyun-Jin Ryu. In a slight diversion though, the team is reportedly getting a physical done with a pitcher as a precursor to a deal. Thie pitcher in question is from the Korean Baseball Organization, named Kwang Hyun-Kim.
The KBO posted Kim’s contract on December 5th and has until January 5th to sign a contract with an MLB club.
Kim is arguably the best overseas pitcher currently on the free-agent market, posting a 2.51 ERA as well as 180 strikeouts this past season which were both among the highest in the league. He is also 31 years old, so he would more than likely be on the Major League roster from the get-go.
Snowstorm aside, this could be a sign a deal is coming soon. Maybe even today.
Kim is known for his dominant slider, who scouts compare to Patrick Corbin’s. His fastball travels at about 91 MPH (or 151 KM/H in Korean terms). He is projected to be a middle of the rotation starter who can rack up innings as well as strikeouts with his breaking pitches.
This isn’t the first time the Cardinals have looked for talent overseas recently. In 2017, the Cardinals signed Miles Mikolas; a former MLB reject who pitched for three seasons in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants.
Quick Fun Fact: Miles Mikolas and Jose Adolis Garcia were actually teammates when they played in Japan together.
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Back to the story, Mikolas put up elite numbers and was known for his filthy curveball, which earned him a 2-year/$15 million deal.
After a stellar first season back in the Major Leagues which earned him an All-Star appearance as well as a few Cy Young votes; he received a major extension from the St. Louis Cardinals.
There are other teams that are interested in the Korean left-hander as well; including the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, and also the Los Angeles Angels; but it seems like St. Louis will be the team to win his services.
Nobody knows when this deal may happen or how Kim may translate to the MLB, but he’s been a stud against the competition that he has faced and that is all we can judge for now.
With the success that the Cardinals have received from Mikolas, they could very well try their luck again with Kwang Hyun-Kim. Again, Kim is in St. Louis on Tuesday to continue further contract discussions with the Cardinals, so stay tuned.