Former Cardinals reliever returning to KBO

A former St. Louis Cardinals reliever will be returning home in more ways than one.

Kwang Hyun-Kim, a 33-year-old lefty free agent, will reportedly be leaving the St. Louis Cardinals and Major League Baseball to return home to South Korea and the KBO. Fansided’s MLB Insider Robert Murray wrote about the report here.

According to ESPN’S KBO insider Daniel Kim, the KBO’s SSG Landers requested a status check on Kim. A status check is a standard procedure when a KBO team wants to sign a player who spent the prior season in the majors.

The SSG Landers was formerly the SK Wyverns, where Kim spent 12 years before playing for the Cardinals for two seasons.

Kwang Hyun-Kim arrived in St. Louis prior to Covid-19 pandemic

Kim’s time with the Cardinals was a bit of a struggle as he arrived prior to the world shutting down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He was unable to travel back to South Korea to be with his young family prior to the start of the 2020 season. Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright took in Kim allowing him to get acclimated to St. Louis and the United States while providing each a throwing partner during the shut-down.

The Kim family was able to come to St. Louis in 2021. Kim was notably happy during the family’s visit.

Kim struggled with back issues during his time with the Cardinals. Kim played in 35 games for the Cardinals, starting in 28. He had one save in each of his two seasons. He threw 145.2 innings for the Cardinals, striking out 104.

While Kim made a lot of friends and memories in St. Louis, it will be good to see him return to the comforts and familiarity of home with SSG Landers and the KBO. Hopefully, he will take those lessons learned in St. Louis and finish out his career strong.