3:57pm: The Cards have introduced Kim. It’s a two-year, $8MM deal, Goold tweets. Kim can also achieve up to $1.5MM in incentives in each year of the contract, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The deal includes protection against a minor-league demotion, per Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap (via Twitter).
1:28pm: The Cardinals have struck a deal with Korean pitcher Kwang-hyun Kim, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). Contract details aren’t yet known, but a formal introduction has already been scheduled.
It emerged yesterday that Kim was not only in talks with the Cards, but had traveled to St. Louis in an effort to finalize a contract. While the seriousness of the interest was pretty clear, we now have a final resolution.
Long considered one of the most talented hurlers in his native South Korea, Kim nearly came to the majors way back in 2014. While the Padres were willing to pay a $2MM posting fee, the club couldn’t work out a contract with Kim.
Under the current posting system, every team in baseball was free to negotiate with Kim once his former club, SK Wyverns, decided to make him available. Rather than an up-front fee, the amount is determined in reference to the contract itself. Presuming that this contract includes less than $25MM in guaranteed money, the Cards will pay twenty percent of the total value to SK Wyverns.
Kim has long been a productive hurler in his native Korea. Though he has had some health issues at times, he’s coming off of a full 2019 campaign. While offense was down across the Korea Baseball Organization, Kim still stood out for his 190 1/3 innings of 2.51 ERA ball. He recorded 180 strikeouts against 38 walks on the year.
It’s not yet clear how the Cards intend to utilize Kim. Long a starter in the KBO, he certainly could be given a shot in the rotation, though doing so would likely mean bumping Carlos Martinez back into the bullpen. It’s possible the club will simply allow both pitchers to stretch out in camp and then hold off on a decision until the season arrives.