By: Jim Tsapelas
On Tuesday the St. Louis Cardinals announced the signing of Seung-Hwan Oh; an elite closer in the Korean Baseball Organization and Japan’s Central League. Following nine seasons in Korea, Oh played for the Hansin Tigers of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and had a 2.73 ERA and 8.6 K/9 in 2015.
Over eleven season, spanning 498 games, Oh 33, has a lifetime 1.81 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 10.7 strike outs per nine, and 5.18 K/BB in 646 1/3 innings. Oh was also an Olympic Gold Medal winner at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Oh joins a bullpen headed by closer Trevor Rosenthal, which includes Kevin Siegrist, Seth Maness, Jonathan Broxton, Tyler Lyons, Jordan Walden, Naval Academy graduate Mitch Harris, Miguel Socolovich, Sam Tuivailala, and the newcomer, Princeton graduate Matt Bowman.
The addition of Oh, offers manager Mike Matheny great flexibility in shaping and using his corps of relievers. It is believed Oh shall serve as the eighth inning set-up man to Cardinals’ closer Rosenthal. In 2015 Rosenthal, an All-Star, finished with a 2.10 ERA and was second in the national League with forty-eight saves.
Tuesday the Cardinals announced a one year deal with Oh; with a club option for 2017. Oh’s move to St. Louis comes after the Korean Baseball Organization issued a suspension for his connections to gambling with a former teammate at a casino abroad; which is forbidden by South Korean laws for its citizens. If Oh had chosen to play in Korea in 2016, he would have missed the first seventy-two games; due to suspension.
It may prove to be interesting in watching Oh’s adjustment to MLB hitting.
Thanks for reading!