Kim's future remains uncertain as MLB lockout continues
Free agent pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun is still stuck with nowhere to call home as the major league baseball lockout continues with no end in sight.
Kim joined the St. Louis Cardinals in 2020 after a hugely successful career in the KBO that saw him named MVP at age 20 and win four Korean Series with the SK Wyverns. After two seasons in the majors, Kim has a solid MLB career 2.97 ERA with 10 wins and seven losses, solid numbers that suggest he'd be a reliable addition to any rotation.
Kim ended the 2021 season without an offer to return to the St. Louis Cardinals for the 2022 season, but he still remains a serious major league prospect. He could still be an option for the Cardinals, as well as a number of other clubs.
But as long as the major league remains in lockout, Kim is stuck without a contract, a club or any idea what his immediate future involves.
The majors have been in lockout since Dec. 2 last year, when the collective bargaining agreement between the players’ union and owners ended. Over the last month and a half, the two sides have failed to come close to reaching a new deal, with disagreements over issues like pay and the playoffs.
Pundits now predict that the dispute could impact spring training and potentially even the start of the 2022 season.
That leaves players like Kim in the dark as clubs are unable to sign new players until a new agreement is in place. Some big names have already decided to take the leap to other leagues — Yasiel Puig joining the Kiwoom Heroes, for example — rather than wait and gamble on a new MLB contract arriving in the spring.
Kim appears to be willing to wait. The Korean left-hander has been suggested as a possible FA pick for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Minnesota Twins, the Cardinals and a number of other teams, but he’ll have no way of knowing if any of those are the real deal until lockout ends.
In the meantime, Kim is back in Korea and has spent the last few weeks training on Jeju Island with a number of KBO players. He is expected to return to the mainland next week, but will have to continue running his own training until something changes in the United States.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]