St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher Heads to Korea

After a successful two-season stint with the St. Louis Cardinals, pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim has apparently had enough of the major league lockout, and has headed back to his home country of South Korea to play ball. 

Kim has reportedly signed a 4-year, $12.3M deal with the SSG Landers of the KBO. That's 15.1 Million in Korean "won" currency. 

As noted by Jeeho Yoo of the Yonhap News, the left-hander is reuniting with the team he was with before he came over to the majors. Former New York Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova, and six-year major league veteran hurler Wilmer Font are also with the Landers. 

Lockout forces Kim to head back home

After well over a decade of good success with the Incheon-based club in Korea, Kim finally made his debut in the majors at the age of 31 on a two-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2020. He enjoyed a stunning debut in the shortened season, posting a 1.62 ERA in seven starts, along with a 1.02 WHIP.

As a groundball pitcher who doesn't exactly rack up the strikeouts, he followed that up with another solid year with the Cards in 2021, with a 3.46 ERA in 106.2 innings, and 21 starts. 

With that kind of success, it's certainly possible he could have received a free agent offer from an MLB club worth more than the $3M per year he got in Korea, but the uncertainty of the situation due to the lockout seems to have made up his mind for him. 

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports