2. Kwang-hyun Kim
Show of hands: How many of you even knew that the left-hander who’s posted a 2.97 ERA with a 48.1 groundball percentage in 145.2 career innings with the St. Louis Cardinals was on the market?
Is that something you’d be interested in, at a relative discount (projections indicate a two-year deal worth $20 million)? Then cut the line.
Kwang-hyun Kim is coming off a pair of seasons in St. Louis during which he’s done exactly what has been asked of him: hold down the back end of the rotation or the middle innings out of the bullpen, and don’t get hit hard. He doesn’t spin the fastball or throw it through walls the way you might want out of your pitching free agents, but he limits hard contact (70th percentile hard-hit percentage, 68th percentile average exit velocity in 2021) and doesn’t allow runs very often, likely for about 90-100 extremely valuable innings next season.
In other words, if Nestor Cortes Jr. doesn’t quite flash the same swingman aptitude, this could be an excellent submission for his replacement. And if Nasty Nestor shows out again? Boom. You just doubled him, with an additional set of funky arm angles.
For whatever reason, Kim fell out of the Top 50 projected free agents in this offseason’s catalogue, and hopefully he continues to be obscured as a whole pile of the top names hit the market at the exact same time over the next few weeks (months? days?).
The Yankees could use a few sure things in their pitching mix, and Kim seems to be a stand-in for stability.