Wyverns to accept bid for Kim by Padres
An elementary school student went to baseball games with his father and soon became interested and joined a team. He dreamed of playing in the MLB in the United States.
Nearly two decades later, that dream is coming true.
The boy is SK Wyverns’ left-hander Kim Kwang-hyun.
The team agreed to put him in the posting system earlier this month, two years before he would become a free agent.
The largest bid was a disappointing $2 million by the San Diego Padres. Nonetheless, the Wyverns accepted the bid, and Kim will have a chance to realize his dream.
“I express my deep gratitude to the club for accepting the bid and SK Manager Kim Young-hee and other players,” said Kim through the team. “Now I have the shot at Major League Baseball that I have dreamed of from when I was little, and I won’t let it slip. I will be preparing thinking that I’m a rookie.”
Born in 1988 in Seoul, the little baseball fan began playing with the Ansan Little Baseball Club when he was a third grader.
He emerged as a super rookie when Ansan Technical High School won a major high school tournament and advanced to the semifinals of four high school tournaments in 2004.
Kim also pitched 20 2/3 innings over five games during the 2006 World Junior Championships and went 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA. South Korea won the championships and Kim was selected as the MVP.
The Wyverns drafted him in 2007, but it took him a while to adjust.
After a slow start in 2007 with a 3.62 ERA, Kim’s breakout year was 2008, when he was the league MVP. He led the KBO in wins (16) and strikeouts (150) and was second with a 2.39 ERA.
He also had a good year in 2009, leading the league in wins, ERA and winning percentage before an injury ended his season early.
He also was the league leader in wins in 2010 with 17.
In 2011, he did not play until June after suffering a cerebral infarction and facial paralysis. He also was slowed by shoulder problems, winning only four games in 2011 and eight in 2012.
Kim returned to form in 2013 by winning 10 games and then 13 this year. His 3.42 ERA was second best in the league, and he has 145 strikeouts.
On deck for Kim are contract negotiations with the Padres of the National League West Division.
BY KIM BONG-MOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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