After signing three free-agent starting pitchers, the St. Louis Cardinals are looking to add to their arsenal, including former KBO reliever Woo-seok Ko (25-LG Twins).
St. Louis signed free-agent starter Sonny Gray, 34, to a three-year, $75 million deal on Monday. A proven starter with a 98-85 record and 3.47 ERA in 279 career games (270 starts, 1571 innings) over 11 seasons, Gray is in his mid-30s, but has been outstanding this year with the Minnesota Twins, going 8-8 with a 2.78 ERA in 32 games (184 innings). He earned a big three-year deal, averaging $25 million per year.토토사이트
Having previously signed veteran pitchers Lance Lynn, 36, for $11 million with one year guaranteed, and Kyle Gibson, 36, for $12 million with one year guaranteed, on July 21-22, the Cardinals now have three veteran starters in the space of a week with the addition of Gray.
The Cardinals went 71-91 (.438 winning percentage) this year, falling to fifth place in the National League Central. It was the first time in 33 years since 1990 that the Cardinals finished last in the division, a huge blow to the franchise’s pride. There were many reasons for the team’s collapse, but the collapse of the pitching staff was particularly painful. The team ERA dropped from 10th last year (3.79) to 24th this year (4.79).
After trading Jordan Montgomery and Zach Flaherty in-season and retiring Adam Wainwright from active duty, the Reds focused all of their attention on bolstering their starting rotation from the offseason onward, bringing in three experienced, mid-30s veteran starters in Gray, Gibson, and Lynn to join incumbents Myles Nicholas and Steven Matz in a five-man starting rotation.
According to MLB.com, in a press conference following the acquisition of Gray, St. Louis president John Mozeliak said, “We definitely bolstered our starting rotation. It’s a good day for us and we’re pleased with the additions we’ve made over the last 10 days,” but added, “We still have two months left in the offseason. We’re not closing any doors,” leaving the door open for additional additions.
It’s interesting to note that St. Louis has been linked to Korean pitcher Go Woo-seok in the past. The Belleville News-Democrat, a local St. Louis media outlet, reported that “the Cardinals are far from being fully staffed. Matsuzuki has shown increased velocity and consistency since moving to the bullpen, but if he remains in the bullpen next year, they will need to add a starter and have not ruled out acquiring top Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
“Ahead of next week’s Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, the Cardinals are expected to target Japanese left-hander Yuki Matsui and South Korean right-hander Woo-seok Ko as free-agent relief options,” the report said, adding that the Cardinals are also looking to add to their bullpen. It’s notable that the local media was the first to mention Ko, who hasn’t gotten much local attention yet.
St. Louis had a weak bullpen this year. They ranked 24th in saves (4.47). Ryan Hellesley had an All-Star finish, but the middle was weak. Outside of Jordan Hicks (3.67) and Drew Verhagen (3.98), there was no middle reliever with a sub-3 ERA in 40+ innings pitched. Hicks was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays at the trade deadline, and Verhagen became a free agent after the season.
With a need for middle relief, Go could be an attractive option for the Cardinals. The Cardinals have had success with Korean pitcher Oh Seung-hwan in 2016 and 2017, using him as a set-up man and closer. Another Korean pitcher, Kim Kwang-hyun, spent two years in St. Louis in 2020 and 2021.
St. Louis’ interest in Go Woo-seok will become clearer once his posting opens. The KBO requested the Major League Baseball office to post Go Woo-seok to all 30 major league clubs on Aug. 28, following a request from LG. This comes 13 days after the KBO requested background checks on Go Woo-seok and Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes).
Clubs will be able to negotiate with Go Woo-seok from 8 a.m. ET on the day after Major League Baseball posts the notice until 5 p.m. ET on the 30th day. If a contract is signed, a transfer fee must be paid to LG in accordance with the Korea-U.S. Player Contract Agreement. If no agreement is reached by the expiration date, the posting will be terminated and Go Woo-seok will not be eligible for posting until November 1 of next year.