(Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles)
After much speculation about the future of Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette offered some clarity on Tuesday.
It appears all but official that the Korean newcomer will not be coming to Baltimore to begin the 2016 season as Buck Showalter’s starting left fielder.
“It doesn’t look like he’s going to be on our [25-man roster], so we’re trying to figure out the next steps,” Duquette said on MASN’s telecast from Sarasota on Tuesday night. “He didn’t get off to a great start with us, and then he hit some balls pretty good in the middle part of it. Joey Rickard just kept playing really, really well, and I think Buck’s going to give Joey a shot to be the everyday left fielder.”
After beginning the season going 0-for-23, Kim has eight hits — all singles — in his last 21 at bats. However, he has started just once in the last eight Grapefruit League games and hasn’t impressed defensively in the outfield. Kim has only struck out six times in his 48 plate appearances, but he has walked just once after being praised for his .406 career on-base percentage in the Korean Baseball Organization.
Signed to a two-year, $7 million contract in December, Kim must give his consent to be optioned to the minor leagues, but Duquette left open the possibility of that happening. According to a FOX Sports report on Tuesday afternoon, the 28-year-old is believed to be willing to accept a minor-league assignment.
“That’s a possibility,” Duquette said. “Spring training is a short time when you’re looking at a career, and there’s a big transition for these players that come here — from anywhere. If you came to the big leagues from any league, it would be an adjustment. If you come to the big leagues from Korea, [it’s a] new culture, new team, new country, new rituals, new diet.
“I know there’s a part of Kim that wants to succeed here in the [United States], and he wants to give it a longer effort.”