The Orioles have finally found the left-handed hitting outfielder they've been seeking. They had to look overseas to find him. The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly reported on Wednesday night that Korean free agent outfielder Hyun-soo Kim has agreed to a contract with the Orioles, pending a physical. The contract is for two years and $7 million, according to Connolly.
That physical won't be long coming. Jeeho Yoo of Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported just before Connolly that Kim is on the way to Washington, D.C. - which is, of course, a place a person flying towards Baltimore might well be headed.
Kim, 27, batted .326/.438/.541 in 141 games for KBO's Doosan Bears this season. You've got to like that walk rate. Kim took 101 walks this year against only 61 strikeouts. Perhaps the Orioles have found a leadoff hitter?
Well, yes, if Kim's skills translate from Korea to here. The competition is not as good there, so while his profile there is a player with some plate discipline who is contact-oriented when he does swing, there is the question of how well he'll be able to do against MLB-caliber pitching. Or whether MLB fielders will be better at fielding the kind of Royalesque contact he seems to make based on this video from two years ago.
If Kim can compete here, that contract will be a real bargain and Kim will position himself to get another nice contract in two years time when he's still just 29. So, here's hoping it works out for both sides. The Orioles haven't really had an Asian market signing work out since they added Wei-Yin Chen prior to the 2012 season, although Dan Duquette has kept trying since.
It's not a huge contract at all, so this is not likely to take the Orioles out of the Chris Davis chase. They probably are out of the chase for players like Justin Upton and Alex Gordon, if they were ever really in those to begin with.