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Hyun-Soo Kim fits organizational needs at a price worth chancing

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The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly reported last night the O's are in serious talks with Korean outfielder Hyun-Soo Kim. Only 27, Kim is a left-handed corner outfielder with gaudy OBP tendencies that, at a reported $3-$4M per season, is certainly worth a look in the big leagues.

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To this point of the offseason, its hard to find much fault with how executive vice president of baseball operation Dan Duquette has attacked the improvement of the 2016 roster.

With incumbents Matt Wieters and Darren O'Day, the Orioles return a catcher who will be looking to boost his free-agent value for next winter and re-secure the services of not only one of baseball's best 8th inning setup men, but rather one of the better relievers in the game. As Duquette has rightfully placed an informal deadline on Chris Davis, while also entrenching himself in rumors among free-agents Justin Upton, Scott Kazmir and Yovani Gallardo, it seems the O's are taking an unfamiliar, frugally-willing stance.

However, one aspect of Duquette's wily unique management style has been finding contributing talent overseas, specifically Asia. The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly reported last night that the Orioles have extended an offer to left fielder Hyun Soo-Kim, a 27-year-old outfielder of the Doosan Bears. Immediately, Kim makes sense for the Orioles, who have a glaring need at both corner outfield spots. Even better, Connolly reported that the O's two-year offer stands at around $3M to $4M per season, a commitment that really doesn't bare much risk, especially as the Orioles appear unafraid to take on more money.

It's hard to find much data on Kim, but a quick journey to his Baseball Reference page unveils the kind of player that the Orioles are yearning to acquire. This past season, Kim slashed an impressive .326/.438/.488/.541 with career-highs in home runs (28) and RBIs (121), including a sky-high 16.0 BB% and impressive 10.0 K%. Despite the obvious understanding of a disparaging talent-gap from the United States to Korea, still, Kim's BB% in 2015 would have had him at the sixth-highest mark in all of baseball, while his very low K% would have sat at seventh-lowest. Not only were Kim's abilities discernibly imposing, but his career numbers are just as profound.

Since 2007, Kim has a career .318/.406/.488 slash, 12.5 BB%, 10.5 K%, and in big-league terms, he's averaged 20 home runs and 110 RBIs over the course of a 162-game schedule. Even with an expected dip in production coming to America, Kim has done enough to intrigue.

As I attempted to find video on Kim, I was unable to locate any recent YouTube videos, though I did stumble upon a few highlights. As it turns out, I realized a couple things. The first being that Kim has tools to hit in the big leagues, and that I can digest what Korean play-by-play guys are saying better than Gary Thorne trying to annunciate the every day batting lineup. The latter coming as more of a surprise, but the former probably being more important.

Kim's numbers not only justify his worthiness of an MLB chance, but I really like his actual ability as a hitter.

The first thing you see is Kim's size, where Baseball Reference has him at 6'2 and around 210 pounds. He's a fairly stocky lefty that has the traditional Asian leg kick, MLB's new favorite timing mechanism. What stands out for Kim, in comparison to other Korean imports, is the sheer strength of his core transitioning from his base to his hands, which he uses as the major source of power. Hitting, a lot like pitching, is aimed to simplify towards less movement, making it easier to transform potential energy into kinetic. With Kim, you see a leg kick that doesn't jerk his head throwing off his base from a swing that is actually very simple.

Yes, that's a hanging curveball that he swats for a dinger, but it's a curveball that's about an inch off the inside corner. Even standing on top of the plate, Kim has very fast hands that allow him to recognize pitches for that split second longer needed to be a successful major-league hitter. In every clip I was able to find on Kim, the baseball came off his bat with some serious exit velocity, a testament to the forcible utilization of his hands and core. I know it's a stretch, but pre-pitch, he actually looks nearly identical to Jason Giambi.

When watching a baseball game, one of my favorite things to see is a hitter that has the ability and willingness to take the ball to the opposite field. On a 0-1 fastball, Kim swats a line drive home run to left field, and again, the incredible push of his hands to the baseball steals the show. Most often, hitting to the opposite field is seen as defensive. When, let's say, you're down to two strikes, you trade attacking for reacting, which tends to lead to more baseballs hit to the inverse side of the field. Here, Kim sees a well-placed 88 MPH fastball on the outside corner and punishes what really isn't that bad of a pitch. All in all, you have a guy that mixes hitting savvy with tremendously fierce hand-eye coordination, two skills that can make him a respectable hitter in the U.S.

Yeah, that's a pretty sweet catch, but Kim is obviously not the most fleet of foot in the outfield. I would imagine he's nothing more than an average defensive outfielder, meaning his production at the plate is where the Orioles, or another organization, will pin his value.

As the O's are in the market to upgrade the outfield, the potential acquisition of Kim would allow the Orioles to upgrade one of the corner positions at a bargain value, while still having enough cash to chase someone such as Justin Upton or even another starting pitcher. Kim's put in nine extremely fruitful seasons in Korea, and though it isn't ideal to try to diagnose his possibilities on videos that are two years old, it isn't tough to understand what the Orioles see, however.

And c'mon, he's the Korean "Iron Man". That's no coincidence.