6:34pm: The deal would max out at $11MM — $5MM in 2016 and $6MM in 2017 — if Oh triggers all available incentives and the team picks up its option, per Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News (Twitter links).
1:40pm: The Cardinals have officially signed star Korean reliever Seung-hwan Oh to a one-year deal with a club option that reportedly guarantees him about $5MM. Oh, who is represented by Chip Sloan of Pryor Cashman LLP, did not require a posting fee to sign because he was a free agent.
Known by the nicknames “Stone Buddha” and “Final Boss,” Oh is perhaps the most celebrated Korean closer with 498 games finished over an 11-season career split between Korea and Japan. The right-hander has a career 1.81 ERA, 10.7 K/9, and 2.1 BB/9 over 646 1/3 innings between the two countries. In 2013, after nine seasons in the hitter-friendly KBO, Oh made the transition to the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and continued his success, including a 2015 campaign that saw him post a 2.73 ERA, 8.6 K/9, and 2.1 BB/9. A two-year old scouting report credits him with a mid-90s fastball, hard slider, and slow curve. MLBTR’s Steve Adams spoke to a pair of scouts earlier this offseason that praised Oh’s fastball and labeled his slider as at least an average offering. As Han Lee of Global Sporting Integration tweets, Oh would become the fourth Korean reliever to jump from NPB to the Majors, joining predecessors Sang-Hoon Lee, Dae-Sung Koo and Chang-Yong Lim. (None of the three pitched more than a season in MLB, though none came with Oh’s track record in Asia, either.)
Oh won’t be the “final boss” of the St. Louis bullpen, given Trevor Rosenthal’s firm hold on the closer’s job, though he will add some much-needed depth to a back-end bullpen trio that saw a lot of action in 2015; setup man Kevin Siegrist appeared in a league-high 81 games, with Seth Maness (76 games) and Rosenthal (68) also seeing a lot of work. The additions of Oh (if completed) and the re-signed Jonathan Broxton will give manager Mike Matheny more flexibility in deciding his late-game options.
Daniel Kim of KBSn first reported that the sides were close to agreement (via Twitter). Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the deal was nearing finalization, pending physical, and reported the contract value.
Wasn’t he the Korean dude who had gambling problems?
He went to a casino in another country. For some reason, that is illegal there. Not really much of a concern.
To his credit, that country was North Korea and he was also penalized for wearing flip-flops.
Oh, this is an interesting development.
Hmm, was hoping the Cubs would’ve made a move for him
So the Cubs should just go after everyone? I hope their plan self implodes. Let’s take everyone on the cardinals or on their radar. Hahaha.
The Cubs signed one top free agent and two mid-tier free agents this offseason. Let’s not pretend like they’ve attempted to acquire everyone.
Yet the city of Chicago has already crowned themselves as World Series Champions.. ha ha
As a Cubs fan, I do get annoyed with seeing the comments of the fans who started to pay attention again now that they had a good year. They are still very unproven. Having such a young team, they could implode in an instant. They have made some great moves and those moves, imo, have made them a better team. With that being said, it’s a new year, anything can happen. Cubs fans need to hope for the best but need to hold off on declaring World Series Champions. See Nationals from last year lol
Good to meet fellow non-arrogant Cubs fans iowarockeyes. This’ll be a fun year in the NL Central all right
Couldnt agree more.. Im just happy we have the Cardinal/Cubs rivalry back!
I read the Cubs just signed Jesus to a minor league deal…I guess they really do expect a miracle
Starting to wonder if the Cubs hacked cardinals
Bank On It
I know it’s beyond ridiculous cub fans think they have to sign everyone
I understand the Cubs are taking a long, hard look at Wang Hong-lo.
Check out his facebook page
Was hoping one of the teams I like and follow, plus really need ‘pen help this coming season would sign him, being the Mariners, Padres and Marlins. Guess none of them wanted to spend the required money, though Seattle generally doesn’t hesitate targeting Asian players and they need help still the most after moving almost everyone from last year’s squad.
Hope he performs well with the Card’s. Never like to see any of these guys fail. Cultural shock is enough.
Milo Goes To College
As a Cubs fan, it’ll be tough rooting against a guy with nicknames like “Stone Buddha” and “Final Boss”.
That’s the cards new plan surprisingly. They’ve discussed, within the past few weeks, increasing their fan base by fielding a multi-cultural team with only good nicknames.
And better WiFi/Scoreboards
Hey Zach, Oh’s career ERA is 1.81, not 1.96.
Thanks. Zach grabbed his RAvg as opposed to his ERA by mistake, as they’re adjacent on Baseball Reference. I’ve updated, The heads-up is much appreciated.
Any news on Dae-ho Lee?
He’s also big player, such as Sandoval??
Maybe better than him.
Apparently he graded out well on the data bases of teams in the Korean league.
Exciting only if he keeps Maness and Siegrist and Rosenthal from being burnt out along with Waino and the gang from pitching and hitting too late and in high leverage situations in the game. The desperation of the Broxton signing a bad move and the signing of O is a move towards bringing trust back to middle relievers that Matheny lost forcing him to bypass the middle relief crew and leaving starters in too long and even having them hit when they should have been pinch hit for in situations that called for it. Then straight to Siegrist, Maness, and Rosenthal. But Broxton was part of that problem and O is a closer with no experience against MLB hitting and middle relief or set up roles. It’s a flailing attempt to save a buck with Broxton and an experiment with O in this role. Dare I say a gamble? Groan! Bad pun! Anybody know a good one?