Cardinals sign Korean lefty Kwang-hyun Kim to 2-year deal

In his last season in the KBO, Kim was 17-6 with a 3.03 ERA and was striking out 8.5 batters per nine innings.

Sam Masterson
December 17, 2019 - 1:36 pm
Kwang-hyun Kim

(Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis Cardinals announced the signing of 31-year-old pitcher Gwang-hyun Kim in a press conference at Busch Stadium, Tuesday afternoon. 

It's a two-year contract for the upcoming 2020 and 2021 seasons. Financial terms were not disclosed by the Cardinals, but reports say it is a deal worth $8 million.

Kim will come over from the Korea Baseball Organization, who in his last 12 season – all with SK Wyverns — he had a 3.27 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 across 1,673 2/3 innings before the club posted him. He was voted as the 2019 Best Pitcher after leading the KBO in quality starts (24) while ranking second in wins and strikeouts; and third in ERA and innings pitched.

Kim’s Best Pitcher award compliments his 2008 KBO Most Valuable Player award during his 19 year-old season, when the left-hander was 16-4 with a 2.39 ERA (162.0 IP) and 150 strikeouts during his second-year as a professional.

Winner of the 2008 Golden Glove award, Kim is also a former KBO league-leader in wins (2008, 2010), strikeouts (2008), win percentage (2008), ERA (2009), and innings pitched (2010).

Welcome to St. Louis, Kwang-hyun Kim. He says he likes to be called KK. #STLCards #cardinalsnation

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The four-time KBO Champion with the SK Wyverns (2007, 2008, 2010, 2018) was also a member of the South Korean team that won the Gold Medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  Kim helped South Korea qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and earned a Gold Medal for South Korea in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. As a youth, Kim was a member of the South Korea U-18 World Cup Champions during his 16-year old season in 2006, while earning the World Cup MVP honors.

Kim, and his wife, Sang Hee, have a daughter, Minjoo, and a son, Minjae.

Nicknamed “KK”, Kim will wear uniform no. 33 for the Cardinals.

St. Louis has had recent success in deals bringing pitchers into Major League Baseball from overseas. Most recently, it was Miles Mikolas who was an All-Star in 2018 after signing a 2-year, $15.5 million contract before the season. It wasn't his first time in the majors, but he was coming off three seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league. 

Before Mikolas, it was Seunghwan Oh who came to St. Louis on a one-year deal in 2016. He saved 19 and 20 games respectively in the 2016 and 2017 seasons, with an ERA of 2.85. 

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