The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to sign Korean relief pitcher Seung-Hwan Oh, according to Daniel Kim of KBSn. The 33-year-old passed his physical on Sunday and the team will hold a press conference on Monday, reports Robert Murray of Baseball Essential.
Oh is arguably the best reliever in Asia and will get a shot to be outstanding as a setup man ahead of Trevor Rosenthal, the closer in St. Louis. It was reported on Sunday morning by Kim that "all signs point" to the Cardinals signing Oh. Just a few hours later the two parties struck a deal.
With Oh, the bullpen of the Cardinals includes: Kevin Siegrist, Seth Maness, Jonathan Broxton, Tyler Lyons, Jordan Walden, Mitch Harris, Miguel Socolovich, Sam Tuivailala, Matt Bowman and Rosenthal. It should be a shootout between Siegrist, Maness, Walden, Broxton and Oh for the setup job in St. Louis.
The closer for Korea was nicknamed "The Final Boss" by MLB Trade Rumors, which was fitting for his role as a closer across his career overseas. Meanwhile, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports called him the "Mariano Rivera of Korea" in his article about free agents.
The New York Mets and Cleveland Indians had interest in the reliever after Oh's agency announced that he would look for a major league deal on October 18, but the Cardinals came out of nowhere and stole him away.
Oh holds a career 1.81 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and a 722 strikeouts to 149 walks ratio over 646.1 innings pitched with Korea and Japan across his 11 season baseball career. With the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, Oh had a 2.73 ERA and 43 saves across 69.1 innings of work in Japan.
Before taking his talents to Japan in 2014, the 33-year-old did relief work for the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). In 2008, the best season of his career, Oh boasted a 0.63 ERA with 47 saves in 57.9 innings with the Lions in Korea.