Pirates Sign Byung-Hyun Kim

UPDATE: Vlad has a good point: Kim spent the last three years pitching almost entirely either in Colorado or for the Marlins, who had an absolutely hideous defense at the time. He's posted very bad numbers, but you can't take the ERAs at face value. He may yet have some mileage left.

As Bryan points out in the diaries, the Bucs are signing pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim. No details are available, but the Post-Gazette thinks it's a major-league deal. (UDPATE: It's worth $850,000 in base pay, plus up to $1 million in incentives.)

We'll have to see the financial terms, obviously. But Kim was one of the best relievers in baseball for several years in the early '00s. Since 2005, teams have mostly used him as a starter even though he has had little success there. Kim's only 29 and he still posts good strikeout rates; I like the idea of signing him to a cheap deal, moving him to the bullpen, and seeing if he can recapture some of his past glory. The fact that he seems to be a complete headcase perhaps makes that unlikely. But even if he doesn't get it back together, he should fill the B.P. Chacon role, filling in as a starter if Zach Duke, Matt Morris or someone else completely falls apart.

I must admit feeling a bit of excitement when I heard about this - I've always liked Kim in a Kip Wells, I-really-should-stop-liking-him sort of way. The movement Kim gets on his pitches is really funky; he's a really fun pitcher to watch.

By the way, I don't mean to sound like I'm criticizing this signing, but anytime says anything about how Frank Coonelly and Neal Huntington are going to "change the culture" of losing, you can point to this signing. Kim pitched in the '01 World Series like he was trying to lose. As a Red Sock, he flipped off Boston's fans after they booed him. (I'm sure lots of us would love to flip off Boston's fans, but come on.) He seems to have self-esteem issues. And he is known for sleeping whenever possible. (Yes, really.)

You don't "change the culture" by acquiring a bunch of ineffectual nice guys. You change the culture by winning. Short of signing someone who's clearly insane (like Elijah Dukes), the Bucs should be acquiring whoever can help them the most, regardless of personalities.

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