No, he’s not Clayton Kershaw or even Carlos Rodon. But this left-handed pitcher would be a surefire upgrade to the Texas Rangers rotation in 2022.
His name is Kwang Hyun-Kim.
You may or may not know that he pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2021, but what we do know is that he was solid for them. In 27 games pitched (21 starts), the Korean lefty was good for a 3.46 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 106.2 innings. Those may not be the high octane strikeout numbers that make a pitcher sexy, but the Rangers need innings flat out.
Fans may remember Jordan Lyles and Mike Foltynewicz from a season ago with their outrageously high ERAs and propensity for giving up the longball, but they ultimately did their jobs of absorbing innings for a Texas staff that needed them to. Kwang Hyun-Kim could easily fill that same role but with much higher quality when called upon.
Kwang-Hyun Kim makes perfect sense for the Texas Rangers
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Kim is likely to prioritize a team that has a rotation spot open in 2022, and the Texas Rangers will have multiple. Outside of Jon Gray, Dane Dunning and Taylor Hearn, the rest of the rotation looks pretty wide open, giving a veteran like Kim a golden opportunity to make the starting five.
Kim is projected to get two years, $20 million in free agency, which seems a bit high, but such is the going rate for pitchers these days, even for mere innings eaters. Heck, Jordan Lyles got guaranteed money ($7 million) from the Baltimore Orioles prior to the lockout, so the value of the innings eater has remained apparent.
Getting those same innings from the left side and with better production should be very appealing to the Texas Rangers, who again, could badly use the help in their rotation. Kwang Hyun-Kim isn’t your dream free agent, per se, but he’ll provide quality innings at a fair price.