TODAY: Kim’s official posting period begins tomorrow morning and ends at 4pm CT on January 5, as per Yoo’s latest report. The delay in Kim’s posting was due to some extra medical documentation that the KBO had to submit to Major League Baseball.
NOV. 28: The KBO has officially asked MLB to post Kim, Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News tweets. After MLB notifies its clubs, Kim’s 30-day negotiating window will open at 8 a.m. ET the next day.
NOV. 22, 5:32pm: Kim is getting hits from several MLB teams, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link). The Mets, Royals, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Cubs are all said to have shown some level of interest in the southpaw. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be seen as a rotation or bullpen candidate and what kind of salary terms teams will be amenable to offering.
1:38am: The SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization will post left-hander Kwang-hyun Kim, according to Naver Sports (via Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). Kim has already made it known that he’d like to pursue a major league opportunity in 2020.
Under the rules of the agreement between MLB and the KBO, Kim will be free to negotiate with all 30 big league clubs upon his posting. The release fee the Wyverns would receive if Kim were to sign with a major league team would depend on the value of his contract.
This will be the second posting for Kim, who was available to major league teams back in 2014 but was unable to reach an agreement with the Padres after they won the bidding for him for $2MM. The Padres are reportedly among several teams who have shown much more recent interest in Kim, a longtime star in his homeland.
The 30-year-old Kim has pitched his entire career with the Wyverns since debuting in the KBO at the age of 18 in 2007, though he did miss all of 2017 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Kim has bounced back well from that procedure, however, and owns a sparkling 3.27 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 1,673 2/3 innings in what has typically been a hitter-friendly league. He logged an even better 2.51 ERA and recorded 8.5 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 across 190 1/3 frames in 2019.
Kim’s repertoire includes a low- to mid-90s, a major league-caliber slider, a curveball and a forkball, as Sung Min Kim of the KBO’s Lotte Giants tweeted in August. Although Kim boasts a well-rounded pitch mix, it’s unclear how aggressively MLB teams will pursue him. FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen wrote in their Top 50 free agent rankings that Kim’s slider is a “nasty, tilt-a-whirl” offering but that the rest of his pitches are average at best, calling him more of a fifth starter or swingman.
Teams will surely have their own ideas about how to coax some improvements out of the lefty, be it via a move to the bullpen or some alterations to his pitch selection and location. For now, though, he’ll at least add a bit more intrigue to a southpaw pitching market led by fellow Korea native Hyun-Jin Ryu, Madison Bumgarner, Cole Hamels and Dallas Keuchel on the starting side and Drew Pomeranz on the relief side.