All offseason, Orioles GM Dan Duquette has spoken of a need to find some left-handed hitters, especially if the player is a left-handed outfielder, for next year's Orioles team. One possible solution for that would be to sign Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim, a 27-year-old free agent.
The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly reported on Monday night that not only are the Orioles negotiating with Kim, but that they have extended a contract offer to Kim. According to Connolly's source, the offer the O's have out is believed to be for a two-year contract that would cost in the $3-4 million range per year. It's hard to think that kind of modest contract could take the Orioles out of the Chris Davis derby.
Kim has looked like a nice option for the Orioles based on their needs for the whole time. I wrote about Kim and what he might offer the Orioles last month. Kim batted .326/.438/.541 in 141 games for KBO's Doosan Bears. While putting up those numbers, he walked 101 times while only striking out 63 times.
There's no guarantee about how a player's skills in the Korean Baseball Organization will translate over to MLB, which is why those players are going for such modest contracts to date. A couple of players posted by KBO teams drew no bids, and one who did, Byung-ho Park, received a contract for only $12 million guaranteed over four years from the Twins, who also paid about $13 million to negotiate with Park.
As far as how Kim's skills might translate, you'd hope that something like plate discipline and the ability to make contact would transfer reasonably well. Pitch framing notwithstanding, a ball is a ball, and a strike is a strike, regardless of where you play baseball. The pitchers he faces will be better in MLB, but that's why they're not guaranteeing much.
Since Kim is still young, it's not a bad deal for him either. At only 27, if he did play decently or better for the O's for two years, he'd still get to become a free agent again and seek a larger contract at age 29. And in the meantime he gets a chance to prove himself against the best baseball players in the world.
Of course, at only $6-8 million guaranteed, any other team that could use an outfielder might want to sign Kim, so we'll see if the Orioles are the ones who end up coming out on top.