The Cubs are interested in Japanese free agent Shogo Akiyama, but the center fielder may not be the only international player on the their radar. Korean left-hander Kwang-Hyun Kim has been posted by his team, so he can now go out and negotiate a contract with any of the 30 MLB teams.
The 31-year-old pitcher was previously posted in 2014, but ultimately couldn’t agree on a deal with the Padres and stayed in the KBO. Kim made his debut in the KBO with the SK Wyverns in 2007, when he was 18-years-old.
Kim has struggled with some high walk totals in previous years, but after undergoing Tommy John Surgery and missing the 2017 season, he returned and has been one of the best pitchers in Korea. He made 25 starts in 2018, however he was brought back slowly and only threw 136 innings. Nevertheless, Kim was great recording a 2.98 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 2 BB/9.
In 2019, Kim’s first full year back since his Tommy John surgery, he was even better in the hitter-friendly league. Kim had a 2.51 ERA in 190.1 innings, with 180 strikeouts and 38 walks.
Now that he”s been posted, you might see the Cubs pop up in reports saying they’re interested in signing Kim, as they were one of several teams that scouted him this past season.
Kim’s fastball sits in the low 90s and has a pretty good slider that observers believe will certainly play in MLB.
Theo Epstein hasn’t ruled out a signing from the international market and last week at the GM meetings he also said the Cubs might address the rotation by looking at the middle tier of free agency.
Right now, before any additions, the Cubs’ starting rotation is made up of Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana, Jon Lester and Tyler Chatwood. Hendricks and Darvish are the only two starters under contract following the 2020 season.
So, Kim enters the free agent market that already includes several lefties; Hyun-Jin Ryu, Madison Bumgarner, Cole Hamels and Dallas Keuchel.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal has confirmed that the Cubs are indeed one team showing interest in Kim.
Via The Athletic.
Left-hander Kwang-Hyun Kim, who was posted Friday by his Korean team, SK Wyverns, is drawing early interest from the Mets, Royals, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Cubs, sources say.
Teams have one month to try and work out a deal under the new posting system.