Cardinals to Sign Korean Pitcher?

Did the St. Louis Cardinals sign its second pitcher from the Far East this off-season?

According to multiple sources that cover the Pacific Rim, the St. Louis Cardinals are set to sign Korean reliever Choi Hyang-nam. The 38-year-old is coming off a season in which he posted a 3.58 ERA with nine saves in 50.1 innings. It was his first season as a reliever having previously worked as a starter. A Korean news outlet reports it is a minor league deal that would be changed to a major league one should he make the big league club out of spring training.

Yoo Jee-ho of JoongAng Daily reports that Hyang-nam was once close to a deal with the Cardinals before his team, the Lotte Giants of the Korean League, chose to post him. Only one team bid on the right-hander and the winning bid came in at $101. It is believed the Cardinals submitted the winning bid.

It will not be his first foray into the American minor league system. In 2006, he pitched for the Cleveland Indians Triple-A team where as a starter he went 8-5 with a 2.37 ERA while striking out 103 in 106.1 innings. He also played in the Hawaii Winter Baseball League way back in 1994.

Reports are that Hyang-nam works a fastball in the high eighties to go along with a slurve that is quite effective to right-handers. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, he is reported to be in tremendous condition despite his age. An article on East Windup Chronicle reports that he is a multiple degree black belt in Tae kwondo.

It is the second time this winter that the organization has signed a reliever from the Far East. Earlier this postseason, the team signed left-hander Japanese reliever Katsuhiko Maekawa.

Links to the Pitcher in action:

Video One

Video Two

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