Cardinals sign top South Korean pitcher Kwang Hyun Kim

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St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim, left, listens as Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak answers a question during a news conference announcing his signing to the baseball team Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in St. Louis. The Cardinals have signed the Korean left-hander to a two-year contract. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS, MO – The St. Louis Cardinals searched all over the world, looking for the right kind of left-handed pitcher. They think they've found him in Kwang Hyun Kim.

The NL Central champions announced Tuesday they had signed the 31-year-old South Korean to a two-year contract, and formally introduced their newest teammate at Busch Stadium.

Through an interpreter, Kim said he had followed the Cardinals and their success while growing up and hoped someday to play for St. Louis.

At his news conference, Kim held up a small sign that read “Hello STL."

Kim went 17-6 with a 2.51 ERA in 190 1/3 innings last season for the SK Wyverns, earning him the award as the best pitcher in the Korean Baseball Organization.

Kim held a sign that read “Thank You SK” at his news conference in St. Louis.

“He’s someone that had a lot of desire to come and play here in the States,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “We had a lot of analytical support that backed up the success he was having over in the KBO, and we felt that when you looked at our needs, especially when you think about the left side of our pitching, it made a lot of sense to pursue this.”

Kim could be the Cardinals’ first full-time left-handed starting pitcher since Jaime García made 30 starts in 2016. But it was Kim's versatility that appealed most to the Cardinals.