Byung-Hyun Kim has been in the majors for almost 10 years and only now am I learning that his name is Byung-Hyun and not Byung-Hung. Seriously, I'm not even making a Tino Martinez/Scott Brosius joke...why would I? Kim got his World Series ring just like the rest of the Diamondbacks. Heck, he even got a World Series ring with the Red Sox in aught-four; Kim is the Yankees' South Korean kryptonite.
Well, the Yankees visit Pittsburgh in June; Neal Huntington must agree with my wacky theory because the Pirates signed Kim to a big-league deal yesterday, supposedly worth $800,000.
Kim had one notable September start last season with the Marlins, in which he defeated the Mets in the game that knocked them out of first place for the first time in four months. Sure, he may have had an ERA north of 6 but his strikeout per inning ratio was pretty decent. Seems like he still has his 'stuff' but may still lack 'focus'.
I sympathize with Kim. I'm not sure if it was the sudden success or unfamiliarity with American culture or basic xenophobia that caused baseball fans like myself to think he's a nutjob. Still, he has given up some notable home runs in his career: the ones against the Yankees in the 2001 World Series, Barry Bonds' 715th career home run in 2006, a Kosuke Fukudome two-run shot that propelled Japan to a semifinal victory over Korea in the World Baseball Classic; he's like the Zelig of walkoff homers. Except Korean.