Phillies news: 5 former players set for overseas KBO season

Ben Lively #19 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Ben Lively #19 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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4. Hyun Soo Kim, OF — KBO Team: LG Twins

Hyun Soo Kim #31 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The Major League career of outfielder Hyun Soo Kim was short-lived, given he played just 191 games across two seasons between he Baltimore Orioles and Phillies.

Kim, 32, began his professional career in the KBO, and likely will end in it. His first 10 years (2006-15) came with the Doosan Bears, from his ages 18 to 27 seasons.

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In November 2015, the international free agent, nicknamed the “Hitting Machine,” began planning to sign with an MLB team through the posting process after hitting .326/.438/.541 with 28 homers and 121 RBI with the Bears the most recent season. One month later, the Orioles and Kim agreed to a two-year, $7 million contract.

Kim had notable success with the Orioles as a MLB rookie in 2016, his 11th professional season overall. In 95 games, he slashed .302/.382/.420 with 16 doubles, six home runs and 22 RBI. He was used solely as a left fielder, committing no errors spanning 665 innings and 114 chances.

The following year, Kim struggled to mirror his rookie success, hitting only .232/.305/.288 with the Orioles in 56 games. In July 2017, the Orioles dealt Kim and minor-leaguer Garrett Cleavinger to the Phillies for veteran starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.

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Kim did not do much better in red pinstripes, slashing only .239/.309/.299. Despite wanting to play for a MLB team in 2018, Kim was never able to secure a second-ever MLB contract. In December 2017, Kim returned to his native country by signing  a four-year, $10.6 million contract with the KBO’s LG Twins.

Kim being used in a platoon role in the majors did not benefit him; he returned to his usual self in 2018 and 2019, slugging a combined 31 home runs and 183 RBI with the LG Twins. This coming season will mark his third with the LG Twins.

5. Ricardo Pinto, RHP — KBO Team: SK Wyverns

Ricardo Pinto #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Right-hander Ricardo Pinto was developed through the Phillies organization out of Venezuela. From his ages 18 to 23 seasons he worked his way through the minor league system, primarily being used as a starting pitcher.

Debuting in May 2017, Pinto went 1-2 with a 7.89 ERA across 25 relief appearances and 29 2/3 innings. He struck out 25 batters, but allowed 17 walks, raising his WHIP to 1.302.

Pinto, now 26, also played for the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays organizations. The Phillies had dealt him to the White Sox in late March 2018 in exchange for international bonus slot money.

The San Francisco Giants also claimed Pinto in September 2019, but Pinto never played, as he was released weeks later. The right-hander appeared in two games with the Rays in 2019, however he allowed four runs on as many hits across 2 1/3 innings.

This past November, Pinto pursed an overseas opportunity to try to resurrect his career; he signed a one-year, $800,000 deal with the SK Wyverns.