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 for 30 days 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. For now, though, it appears 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.