Korean reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, nicknamed “The Final Boss” in Asia, agreed to a one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals back on January 11. In the weeks since, Oh and his representatives have been trying to secure a work visa for the 33-year-old right-hander that will allow him to report on time to Cardinals spring training in Jupiter, Florida.
But it hasn’t come together yet …
Those tweets come from Daniel Kim, a former MLB scout who now covers both Major League Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization. Kim notes humorously that the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, is a huge Reds fan. Conspiracy!
Brian Stull of STL Baseball Weekly was told by a Cardinals official on Tuesday that the team is anticipating Oh arriving on time later this month at Roger Dean Stadium. But if the visa issue isn’t resolved soon, Oh could very well be a week or two late. That wouldn’t be a problem for most relievers, who take very little spring work to get properly tuned up for the regular season, but Oh spent the last 11 years pitching in either Korea or Japan. He would probably like to get familiar with MLB hitters and the MLB scene in general.
Oh saved 357 games in Asia while posting a 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts in 646 innings. He is expected to work as a setup man to Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.
Kyle Lohse had a brutal 2015 with the Brewers, posting a 5.85 ERA and 1.46 WHIP across 152 1/3 innings, but he had a great four-year run from 2011-2014 and he could maybe possibly have a bounceback in him for the 2016 season — what will be his age-37 campaign.
The market has been quiet so far for Lohse, but teams should come calling as the free agent value heap gets chipped away at leading into the start of spring training.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Marlins are “exploring that possibility” — as in, signing Lohse to a one-year deal. Miami’s current starting rotation lines up as Jose Fernandez, Wei-Yin Chen, Jarred Cosart, Tom Koehler, and then presumably Edwin Jackson.
Jackson worked strictly as a reliever last year for the Braves and Cubs.
Tragic news out of the Dominican Republic.
According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, Orioles minor league infielder Ramon Ramirez was killed Saturday in his native country when a motorcycle being piloted by Ramirez was struck by another vehicle. That’s all the information available at this point.
Ramirez, who would have turned 24 years old next month, spent the 2015 season between the Gulf Coast League Orioles, the Low-A Aberdeen IronBirds, and the High-A Frederick Keys.
Our condolences to his friends and family.
Yasiel Puig brought some Cuban flavor and charm to the Dodgers’ annual FanFest on Saturday at Chavez Ravine, showing off a couple dance moves with former MLB Network host and current SportsNet LA reporter Alanna Rizzo …
Los Angeles will be hoping for a big bounceback 2016 from Puig, who was limited to 79 games last year because of hamstring issues and batted just .255/.322/.436 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI when healthy.
Dexter Fowler posted a cool .757 OPS with 17 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 156 games last season for the Cubs, but he got lost in the initial shuffle of big-name free agent outfielders earlier this winter and a market still hasn’t quite materialized for the 29-year-old center fielder here in late January.
That should soon start changing with Yoenis Cespedes now off the board, and Bruce Levine of 670 The Score hears that the two Chicago teams will likely be the primary suitors …
Both Chicago teams are monitoring the Fowler’s free-agent market daily, according to sources.
“The Cubs are still the most likely landing spot for Fowler,” one baseball executive whose club has also followed the Fowler free-agent process said. “He should have taken the Cubs’ qualifying offer and moved into the free agent class of 2017.”
Fowler did not accept that one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Northsiders back in early November and so his free agency became tied to draft pick compensation. That has really been the biggest thing holding him back from landing with a new team.
Levine says the Cubs could trade Jorge Soler for pitching help to make room for Fowler, who would likely return to center field with newcomer Jason Heyward taking over in right and Kyle Schwarber handling left. On the south side of Chicago, center fielder Adam Eaton could make the switch to right field with disappointing youngster Avisail Garcia sliding into a sort of left-field platoon with Melky Cabrera.