The San Diego Padre are once again showing interest in left-handed pitcher Kwang-hyun Kim out of Korea.
There is no doubt that the San Diego Padres are looking for starting pitchers.
Several players have been linked to the team in one degree or another. The Padres have intentions of improving their staff, and A.J. Preller is leaving no stone unturned.
In the last few days, Preller and the Padres have once again been linked to Gwang-hyun Kim out of the KBO. The left-handed pitcher was a restricted free-agent in 2016, and the Padres were awarded the right to negotiate with him. The Padres offered him a two-year deal worth $2 million then, but he turned it down and decided to go back to Korea and pitch for the SK Wyverns. He ended up missing the entire 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Since returning from the injury, Kim made 55 starts and thrown some of the best baseball of his 12-year career. There is no injury concern with him.
The pitcher is now an unrestricted free agent in the winter of 2019 and can negotiate with any team he chooses. Several teams have shown an early interest in the southpaw, including the Dodgers. Teams have until January 5th to sign the pitcher.
Kim is armed with a fastball that typically sits 89-91 mph, but he can ramp up his velocity to 93-94 when needed. He has started for almost all his career (276 out of 298 games), where he shows a plus slider (82-87 mph) and a slow curve that is more of a “show me” pitch.
He owns a career 136-77 record for the SK Wyverns with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.328 WHIP. Command of his pitches is the biggest issue with the pitcher, who can get wild in and out of the strike zone.
The Padres interest is real as the team probably values Kim as a long-relief option similar to what Robbie Erlin did last year with the club. Kim can start or pitch out of the pen, providing an interesting look out of the bullpen for the Padres.
#Padres showing interest in LHP Kwang-hyun Kim, who was posted by SK Wyverns of the KBO, source says. San Diego won the posting rights to Kim five years ago but failed to reach an agreement. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 11, 2019
Kim went 17-6 last season with a 2.51 ERA and a 1.240 WHIP in 190 innings pitched. He struck out 180 batters in a season, which was arguably one of his best in the KBO.
The Padres have a relationship with Kim, but it is not known if they value him higher than they did in 2016 when they offered him one million per season. The lefty would be an excellent addition for the team, but the finances would need to be correct for the Padres to get invested. The team might have a bad taste in their mouths after the Kazuhisa Makita situation. The Padres signed the Japanese pitcher in 2016 for two years and four million dollars, and he failed to live up to expectations.