LA Angels Need to Sign Korean Southpaw Kwang-Hyunh Kim
While the LA Angels and their fans dream of Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, their hidden gem may be a foreign southpaw.
Every year, the LA Angels and the rest of the MLB receive at least a handful of talented free agents from foreign countries. Obviously Shohei Ohtani is the Angels’ most notable get, but other pitchers such as Masahiro Tanaka, Yu Darvish, and Yusei Kikuchi were all signed via the posting system.
This year, the biggest foreign star making the move to the MLB is Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, who I’ve already detailed in another post (click here for more on why Tsutsugo makes sense for the Angels).
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Howevever, he doesn’t help solve the Angels’ biggest problem: starting pitching. Luckily, a left-handed starter by the name of Kwang-hyun Kim will he making his debut in the MLB next year.
The Angels need to be all over him.
Yes, Kim is 32-years old already and has seen his best days as a baseball player. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t be a reliable option in a rotation.
For example, FanGraphs has Kim ranked #41 on their free agent rankings this offseason. That puts him right around the tier of Gio Gonzalez, who has been a solid starter throughout his career.
Kim has a legitimate four-pitch mix. His fastball rests in the low-90’s, but is assisted by a change-up in the 70’s, a beautiful curveball, and an absolutely nasty slider that he often uses as his strikeout pitch.
And, for Halo fans concerned about health, Kim already had Tommy John surgery in 2017, and returned to post some of his best years since then. Obviously there’s risk with any player, but Kim seems to be hitting a nice stride in the latter half of his career.
Unlike a lot of the free agent starters Angels fans are clamoring for, Kim won’t be overly expensive. FanGraphs has him making $7 million annually on a two-year deal. The Angels paid more to Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill (and Cody Allen) last season, and should have no problem sending that kind of contract Kim’s way.
If the Angels truly want to contend next year, it goes beyond the blockbuster signing. They have to fill out their roster efficiently and prove they can win on the margins. That’s exactly what signing Kwang-hyunh Kim will do, and the Angels need to make sure he southpaw lands in Anaheim next season.