KBO free agent pitcher Im Chan-kyu stays put with LG Twins

December 20, 2023

Free agent pitcher Im Chan-kyu is returning with the Korean Series champions LG Twins, the only club he’s played for in his professional career.

The Twins announced Thursday they have re-signed the 31-year-old pitcher to a four-year deal worth up to 5 billion won (US$3.8 million). The right-hander will make 2 billion won in total salary and 600 million won as a signing bonus. He can earn another 2.4 billion won in incentives.

Im is coming off the best season of his career with the Seoul-based Twins, going 14-3 with a 3.42 ERA. Im led all South Korean pitchers in wins in 2023, and his ERA, the ninth overall in the league, was Im’s lowest mark since his Korea Baseball Organization debut in 2011.

Having grown up a Twins fan in the capital city, Im has only pitched for the Twins, and the new contract likely ensures he will retire a Twin too.

For his career, Im has a 65-72 record with eight saves in 298 appearances, with a 4.62 ERA in 1,075 2/3 innings.

“As a childhood fan of the Twins, I am happy to continue to wear these proud pinstripes,” Im said, referring to the Twins’ signature patterns on their jersey. “I never even thought about leaving for another club. I wanted to remain an LG Twins player, and I’d like to thank the team for such a great contract.”

With Im offering much-needed stability in the middle of the rotation, the Twins won their first Korean Series championship in 29 years in November.

Im is the sixth free agent to sign a deal this offseason but the first in 20 days to do so.