Korean pitcher could use a long look in the mirrorYou have a hard-breaking slider that turns a batter’s legs into spaghetti. You have an exotic delivery style called “submarine,” and a ball that clocks regularly in the low 90s coming from an odd angle. Only 25, you are playing in the major leagues. But you are not an American. What do you do? Learn English.
Kim Byung-hyun’s future in a Red Sox uniform is in jeopardy, and as I have pointed out earlier, he needs to learn to speak English and mingle with the team. News from Beantown in recent days has been very bad. It’s not only bad, it’s embarrassing. Not following the advice of the coaching staff? Bad idea. Especially when you are in BK’s shoes.
When Kim throws strikes, it means he is switched on ― and, I dare say, almost unhittable. His stuff is that good. The problem comes when he isn’t throwing strikes and falls behind in the count. He is aggressive and is certainly not afraid to challenge a batter, no matter who is standing at the plate. That’s good.
At BK’s heels is Bronson Arroyo, who is doing a fine job for himself. I still don’t know why the Pirates gave up on him, but this kid really looks good. He does not have overpowering stuff, but he locates the ball well and isn’t afraid to challenge the batter. Above all, he seems to have the poise to work himself out of jams very well. This season, in 10 games played, he has a 2-2 record with a 5.00 ERA. Although he slipped recently, he has made a strong case for himself to be the Red Sox’s fifth starter, while BK has only kept shooting himself in the foot. Anybody can have a bad day. Everybody does. But when you have a bad day, you have to listen to others. If you don’t and your performance is getting better, nobody will say a word. If you don’t and you slip even further, you just alienate yourself.
What was it Johnny Damon said in an interview with an American newspaper? “We want him to play Playstation with us.”
Talking to BK’s high school coach, I realized a long time ago that BK isn’t exactly an outgoing guy. He is rather shy, and not being able to speak English well makes him even more so. But he can’t excuse himself anymore. Not when he’s played five years in the big show. This is still a team sport.
The reason everyone has put up with BK’s maturity issues is that many people thought his stuff was great and he had upside potential. Until now. Although Derrek Lowe has had a slow start, posting a 4-4 record and a 6.22 ERA, the Red Sox are in less dire need of BK’s services with the rise of Arroyo. While BK is trying to find his old form, the front office will gauge its options. The local media has been suggesting that with the right offer, the Red Sox will do whatever it takes to make BK attractive enough to other teams from a financial perspective, even if it means they have to chip in some of their own money.
Last year, BK got traded to the Red Sox exactly around this time of the year, as teams who had figured out what they needed scrambled to make trades.
Right now, the Red Sox know they don’t want BK. Unless their pitching goes down the toilet, which is unlikely, BK will have little room for error. Playing in Beantown is never easy, and BK learned that the hard way. Maybe a change of scenery isn’t such a bad idea after all.
by Brian Lee