Before Seung Hwan Oh signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, there were some governmental delays related to gambling in a foreign casino, which is against the law in South Korea. After those issues were satisfactorily resolved, Oh flew to the United States to introduce himself and make his signing official. After that was completed, it was expected that Oh would have no problems reporting on February 17, when pitchers and catchers are due to report to Jupiter, Florida. However, in recent weeks, there were some concerns that Oh's return to the United States might be delayed by visa issues. Fortunately, those issues have been resolved, and Oh is expected to report on time to Spring Training, per Derrick Goold.
Seung Hwan Oh obtained his work visa Tuesday, an official with the Cardinals confirmed in an email. General manager John Mozeliak said the righthander is expected to report to spring training by Feb. 17, the official report date for all Cardinals pitchers and catchers.
This is good news as there was going to be an adjustment period as Oh becomes acclimated with the majors and needs as much time as possible with his new teammates and facing live hitting to get ready for the season. In his scouting report on Oh, Joe Schwarz noted that Oh has the potential to be a setup man or even closer should Trevor Rosenthal falter or get hurt.
At worst, Oh will give manager Mike Matheny another middle relief option so that he does not have to run Seth Maness into the ground (Maness has the 10th most innings as a reliever since 2013). At best, Oh could serve as a set-up man to Rosenthal, and similar to what Kevin Siegrist did last year, he could fill in for some save opportunities as well (Siegrist notched six saves of his own in 2015).
Oh appears to be eager to get to United States as he has already left on a plane to Jupiter, per Daniel Kim. Oh spoke to reporters before he left about his goals and potential role with the Cardinals.
Oh seung hwan left for Jupiter today. He met w/ press b4 departing and said "my goal is to win World Series with #STLCards" cont'd— Daniel Kim 대니얼 김 (@DanielKimW) February 11, 2016
Oh Seung Hwan on becoming a middle reliever - " it doesnt matter whether I pitch 7th or 8th. My apporach is going to be same" #STLCards— Daniel Kim 대니얼 김 (@DanielKimW) February 11, 2016
On his person goal " I hope I can have an injury free season and become a contributor. I look forward to pitching in big games" #STLCards— Daniel Kim 대니얼 김 (@DanielKimW) February 11, 2016
The Cardinals have made their bullpen a bit of an emphasis this offseason despite returning a solid core from last year. Anchored by Trevor Rosenthal and Kevin Siegrist along with Jonathan Broxton, Tyler Lyons, Seth Maness, adding Oh to the mix has the potential to give the Cardinals one of the best bullpens in all of baseball and provide Mike Matheny with multiple trusted options to make sure relievers are not worn out by the grind of the season.