Cardinals close to signing Kwang-Hyun Kim
The Cardinals have been rumored to be interested in Korean southpaw Kwang-Hyun Kim for a few weeks now, and it seems a deal is close to being done. The 31-year-old is reportedly close to signing in St. Louis. The Cardinals have been looking for starting pitching, and while Kim is a relative unknown coming from the KBO and doesn’t really have top-of-the-rotation upside, he certainly fills the hole. He’s had ERAs under 3.00 in each of the last two seasons in Korea (after not pitching in 2017) and showed great control in the process. There is some question about how his stuff will translate to the majors, but his secondaries were incredibly effective in Korea. Kim now joins a rotation that includes young ace Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas.
Sox Spin: This isn’t great news for the Red Sox. It never seemed like the Cardinals were the top suitor for David Price, but by all accounts they were at least in the mix. That will no longer be the case unless they look to trade one of their other starters or move someone to the bullpen. I’d be surprised if that happens, and suspect they’ll turn their attention to depth options rather than an expensive veteran like Price.
Blue Jays sign Shun Yamaguchi
Kim wasn’t the only pitcher coming to the majors from an Asian professional league. The Blue Jays, who have been looking for pitching all winter, have agreed to terms with Japanese righty Shun Yamaguchi. As with Kim, it’s hard to know how the stuff will translate to the majors, although there is obviously more track record with pitchers coming from the NPB than the KBO. That said, this doesn’t appear to solve the rotation problems north of the border, as there is no consensus that Yamaguchi is a starting pitcher. In fact, it seems at least possible that Toronto will have him in their bullpen. Reliever or starter, though, the Blue Jays need whatever pitching they can get, so this should at least be a net positive.
Sox Spin: The Blue Jays do still need starting pitching, but they aren’t trading for Price. Or, at least, I’d be very surprised. That said, this does still put them in the market for some of the free agents available, and if they sign any of them it makes it more likely for the L.A. teams to trade for Price.