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Everything Happening to Byung Hyun Kim

Posted December. 16, 2002 22:19,   


On December 16, everything happened to Byung Hyun Kim (23, Arizona Diamondbacks). All of them could cast a spell on the future of Kim.

Arizona`s Manager Bob Brenly had an interview at a hotel in Nashville, TN, where his team was holding a winter meeting. He said, "Next season, our team will depend on Matt Mantei for closing games." Mantei was the best reliever of the Diamondbacks until he was put on the leave due to an injury in the middle of 2000.

That is not the end of the story, though. Left-handed slugger Erubiel Durazo, who had been considered as the "trade partner" of Kim, was sent to Oakland. In addition, a good starting pitcher is traded in from Cincinnati Reds.

The new guy pitched in 30 games as a starting pitcher, and recorded only 7 wins (8 losses). But his ERA is 3.03, ranking himself at 6th in the National League. In 2000, he won 11 games and lost 5. Therefore, the only place Kim can fit himself in is the one-point reliever.

Manager Brendly, however, said, "It is still possible that Kim could pitch as a starting member. I will test him in the spring camp." But we can`t take his comment at its face value. It is highly possible that Brendly would like to retain Kim as a great setup man and an "insurance" against the worse situation.

Another problem is about the salary Kim would receive next season. Now, Kim can negotiate his terms, and is likely to demand $2 million. But it is highly doubtful that Arizona, currently money-stripped, would pay such an amount for a setup man. Therefore, experts believe that Kim could still be traded out.

Since, despite the excellent performance (8W, 3L, 36S with 2.04 ERA), Kim faces degradation of his status, it would be good for Kim to find another team.

Hwan-Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com