ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals are just a physical away from signing one of the most successful relievers in Korea’s history, according to a report.
Daniel Kim, a former MLB scout who now covers the MLB and KBO tweeted several times about a possible connection between closer Seung-hwan Oh and the Cardinals, before finally reporting the deal could be final as soon as Monday.
Oh has had a dominant career, posting a 1.81 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP and a 10.7 K/9 ratio in 646.1 innings. He’s accumulated 357 saves, a total that would be higher if not for a shortened 2010.
He left the KBO in 2013 when he became a free agent, signing with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Nippon Pro Baseball.
According to Baseball Reference, Oh holds the KBO record for career saves, and most saves in a season, earning him the nickname “The Final Boss.” He has also been dubbed “The Stone Buddha,” because of his steely resolve and emotionless face on the mound.
Pitching for the Hanshin Tigers, the 33-year-old righty had 41 saves in 2015. He is not currently under contract with the Tigers, meaning teams did not have to pay a posting fee to negotiate with him.
Oh primarily uses a fastball in the low-to-mid-90s and slurve he throws in the high 80s. He would give the Cardinals another high-leverage arm in the bullpen, which was already among the league’s best. Trevor Rosenthal will undoubtedly remain the team’s closer if Oh joins the club, but other arms could be shuffled around in the preceding innings.
Here is a 2014 video of Oh on the mound for the Tigers.
We will update this story as more information becomes available.