For the past few days, the St. Louis Cardinals were reported to be close to signing Korean relief pitcher Seung-Hwan Oh. Terms of the deal have yet to surface, but it is suggested that Oh is a candidate for a major-league contract, according to Daniel Kim of KBSn.
Multiple reports out of South Korea indicated that Oh has an agreement in place with St. Louis. The right-hander is expected to finalize a contract as early as Monday when he is scheduled to take a physical examination.
On Sunday, however, it has emerged that the exam had already been passed by Oh and that he is about to attend an event in St. Louis to formalize his entrance to the team's roster. "Korean reliever Oh Seung-Hwan has passed his physical and will have a press conference tomorrow in St. Louis, per league source," Robert Murray of BaseballEssential.com tweeted.
The 33-year-old pitcher has been one of the most dominant relievers in his native country for over a decade. He has played for the Korean Samsung Lions from 2005 to 2013) and most recently for Japan's Hanshin Tigers last season. During his stint with the Tigers, he logged an ERA of 2.25 with a total of 80 saves. Though his 11 professional seasons, he had an average of 1.81 ERA to go with 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 646 1/3 innings of work.
The Korean right-hander has not only 357 careers saves but also two of the best nicknames in the baseball world for a ninth-inning reliever--"Stone Buddha" and "The Final Boss." A couple of years ago, Oh drew interest from the New York Yankees but the reliever decided then to play in Japan.
Details of Oh's contract has yet to be disclosed, but the Cardinals supposedly do not have to pay a posting fee since Oh is an unrestricted free agent. If the deal pushed through, he would be the third Korean player to sign with an MLB team this winter, joining Hyun-soo Kim (Orioles) and Byung-ho Park (Twins). Oh would join a Cardinals lineup that also includes Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist, Jonathan Broxton and Jordan Walden. St. Louis already lost Steve Cishek to free agency and may be bringing in Oh as a 7th- or 8th-inning option.
In more updates about the Cardinals' corps, speculations about Gerardo Parra and his possible move to St. Louis have been heating up recently. Dan Buffa of RedbirdRants.com suggested that the Cardinals seem to be one of the teams to sign the 28-year-old outfielder.
Buffa predicts that if the team does not want to spend a lot this offseason, they can add depth to their outfield by adding Parra. While he may not have more impressive stats like beefier options like Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes, Buffa argues that Parra can provide versatility and depth to the team.
The Venezuelan outfielder, who is currently a free agent, hit .291 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 155 games in 2015 for the Brewers and Orioles. Parra has received two Gold Glove awards and cranked 36 doubles and added five triples while stealing 14 bases.