South Korean left-hander Kim signed by MLB Cardinals

Washington (AFP) –


South Korean pitcher Kim Kwang-Hyun, who has played the past 12 seasons for the Korean Baseball Organization's SK Wyverns, agreed to a two-year deal Tuesday with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The 31-year-old left-hander joins the 11-time Major League Baseball champions after a 2019 campaign in which he went 17-6 with a 2.51 earned-run average and 180 strikeouts in 190 1/3 innings over 31 games.

The deal came in Kim's second try at a North American career. In 2014, the San Diego Padres won bidding for his rights for $2 million but contract talks ended without an agreement and he returned to the Wyverns.

Kim, who has a 3.27 ERA and 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings with the Korean club, missed the entire 2017 season with "Tommy John" tendon replacement surgery.

While Kim is expected to join the Cardinals starting rotation, he could also serve in the St. Louis bullpen if needed.

The Cardinals were swept by eventual World Series winner Washington in this year's National League Championship Series. St. Louis last reached the World Series in 2013, losing to Boston, and last won the crown in 2011, defeating Texas in seven games.

Kim was the Most Valuable Player in South Korea's 2006 world junior champions, going 4-0 with wins in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

He made his pro debut with Wyverns in 2007, then helped the Koreans win the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal, beating Japan in a semi-final showdown.

Kim also helped South Korea to a runner-up finish in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and a title in the 2014 Asian Games.