Cardinals: Kwang Hyun Kim to open season in starting rotation
Kwang Hyun Kim is going to open the season in the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation.
When the St. Louis Cardinals signed Kwang Hyun Kim, they envisioned him as a closer. But after the roster depth was decimated by a COVID-19 outbreak, he was shifted to the starting rotation and quickly thrived, finishing with a 1.62 ERA in seven starts.
In the KBO, Kim was one of the best and most consistent starting pitchers. Considering his success in the KBO, and in limited action last season, the Cardinals plan for Kim to be on the Opening Day roster as a starting pitcher, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The Cardinals’ actions this winter all but confirmed that this move was coming. Retaining Adam Wainwright was always in the team’s plans and had no impact on Kim. But the organization’s pursuit — or lack thereof — of the top free-agent starting pitchers, including Trevor Bauer and Jake Odorizzi, heavily indicated that Kim would be in the rotation in 2021.
The argument has been made by Brett Ramsey of Redbird Rants for the Cardinals to extend Kim. It is a move that would make sense for the team if Kim has a breakout season, which would mean they would have him signed at a discounted rate for years to come. There is always the worry, of course, that he could have a similar trajectory to Miles Mikolas, who had a breakout season before regressing in a rather significant way after signing a four-year contract extension.
The odds remain that Kim will not be extended, and will begin the season on his current contract. If he works out, it would be a bonus for the Cardinals. If not, the team can move him back to the bullpen — a place where he has experienced success — and package prospects together for an impact starting pitcher as they work toward the playoffs.