Former South Korean pro baseball MVP Kim Sang-hyun won't be able to compete in the top league this year after clearing waivers.
The troubled veteran, charged with engaging in lewd conduct in public last summer, got a new lifeline extended by his former Korea Baseball Organization club, KT Wiz, two weeks ago. After the incident, the Wiz placed Kim on the restricted list, preventing him from playing anywhere in the KBO without their permission, and reinstated him on July 14 before placing him on waivers four days later.
The move made Kim eligible to play for any club that claimed him, but the weeklong deadline came and went Tuesday without any team showing interest.
Under the league rules, players who clear waivers automatically become free agents but they can't sign with any club in the same year.
Kim, a 36-year-old who has been toiling in the independent league this year, may be hard pressed to find a suitor next year, given his age and declining skills.
Kim was voted the league MVP in 2009 while playing for the Kia Tigers, with 36 home runs, 127 RBIs and a .315/.379/.632 line. He had a string of sub-par seasons after that but enjoyed a career renaissance with the Wiz in 2015, hitting 27 homers and driving in 88 runs in their inaugural season.
In 2016, the infielder batted .225 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 62 games.
The Wiz said they will honor the remainder of Kim's contract while he remains unsigned. After the 2015 season, the player agreed to a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year, worth up to 1.7 billion won ($1.5 million).
Any club that acquires Kim will eat up the rest of his contract. (Yonhap)