Kwang-hyun Kim leaves Cardinals for South Korea

With Major League Baseball still not having a contract agreement with the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, it should have come as absolutely no surprise whatsoever the news this week that Kwang-hyun Kim is leaving the St. Louis Cardinals to return to his homeland of South Korea. The native of Seoul signed a four-year deal worth $12.3 million with the SSG Landers to become the highest paid player in the history of the Korea Baseball Organization League according to Robert Murray of Fansided on Wednesday.

Last year, in 2021, Kim pitched in 27 games (21 starts), and had a record of seven wins and seven losses with an earned run average of 3.46. In 106 2/3 innings pitched, he gave up 98 hits, 41 earned runs, 12 home runs, and 39 walks. Kim had 80 strikeouts and a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.28. Kim also picked up one save during his six relief appearances. It came in a 7-6 Cardinals win over the New York Mets on September 14, in a game which went to 11 innings.

In eight games in his first year of Major League Baseball, Kim was outstanding during the 2020 regular season. In eight games (seven starts), during a season which was shortened because of coronavirus, he had a perfect record of three wins and zero losses, with a fantastic earned run average of 1.62. Kim also had one save, which came in his very first Major League game, a 5-4 Cardinals win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 24, 2020. In 39 innings pitched, Kim gave up 28 hits, seven earned runs, three home runs, along with 12 walks. He also had 24 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.03.

With the loss of Kim, the Cardinals are set to go with a starting rotation of Jack Flaherty, the ageless wonder Adam Wainwright, Steven Matz, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson. The Cardinals signed Matz in the offseason to a four-year deal worth $44 million after playing last season with the Toronto Blue Jays.