The Kia Tigers traded former MVP-winning outfielder Kim Sang-hyun to the SK Wyverns Monday as part of a two-on-two deal in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).
The Tigers dealt Kim and left-handed reliever Jin Hae-soo in exchange for right-handers Song Eun-beom and Shin Seung-hyun.
Kim and Song are the principal figures of the trade. Kim, 32, was voted league MVP in 2009 after leading the KBO with 36 home runs and 127 RBIs, while batting a career-high .315. The Tigers went on to win the Korean Series that year.
It was a breakout season for an unheralded player who'd never belted more than nine homers in any of his six previous seasons.
Kim began his KBO career with the Tigers in 2001 before being traded to the LG Twins in 2002. He rejoined the Tigers in another trade in 2009, his MVP season.
Slowed by assorted injuries, Kim hasn't been able to duplicate the success of that year in ensuing seasons. From 2010 to 2012, he hit just 39 homers while never batting better than .259. This year, Kim is batting .222 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 24 games for the first-place Tigers. For his career, Kim is a .256 hitter with 110 home runs and 403 RBIs in 755 games.
Though he may never again be the MVP-caliber player that he once was, the Wyverns said they believe Kim will still add some pop to the middle of their order.
So far this season, third baseman Choi Jeong has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Wyverns. He leads the KBO with 31 RBIs and is second with eight home runs, but his teammates haven't provided much power in support. The Wyverns, who have played in the past six Korean Series, are in sixth place at 11-12 along with one tie.
They have scored 99 runs, tied for the second fewest in the KBO, and have the worst team batting average with .242.
Along with Kim, the Tigers traded Jin, who has an unsightly 11.88 ERA in 8 1/3 innings this season. The six-year reliever has given up four earned runs in his last 2 1/3 innings.
The Tigers received a versatile right-hander in Song. The 29-year-old has spent his entire 11-year career with the Wyverns, serving as a starter, a middle reliever and a closer over his 291 appearances. He is 0-1 with three saves and a 3.86 ERA this year in 4 2/3 innings.
Song has gone 63-42 with 16 saves in his career with a 3.78 ERA. The Tigers said they expect Song to add versatility to their pitching staff, which last weekend welcomed back former MVP-winning starter Yoon Suk-min from a shoulder injury.
Shin, another right-hander going from SK to Kia, has an underhand delivery. The Tigers said they will use him primarily in middle relief. The 29-year-old made his KBO debut with the Wyverns in 2000 and has a 23-25 record with one save in 169 games, with a 4.44 ERA. He has yet to pitch in 2013. (Yonhap News)