The Orioles finally got their man, or at least one of them. On a rainy Christmas Eve Eve, they brought Hyun Soo Kim to Oriole Park at Camden Yards and unveiled him in front of, uh, no one. But they played his song on the Jumbotron when he took the field wearing an O's uniform, so that's nice of them.
Kim and the O's had agreed to terms on a two year, $7 million contract a week ago. His potential strengths are obvious from his stats with his Korean team, the Doosan Bears. In the most recent KBO season, Kim batted .326/.438/.541 over 141 games, walked often, and seldom struck out. It's a lesser caliber of competition in that league.
The Orioles don't need Kim to be the best player on the team. They just need him to be a guy who is better than the Travis Snider/Delmon Young/Chris Parmelee nightmare in left field from last year. If he is able to be that, this contract will look like a bargain and Kim, who's just 27, will be able to sign another MLB contract if he wants after his O's contract expires.
Kim is certainly excited to be an MLB player. He said through an interpreter that he has "been a big fan since he was very little," and now that he is here, he is happy enough that he could cry if he wants to, although he also assured that he will not cry right now. Kim spoke about his pride in getting to represent his home country of South Korea and hopes that he will be able to follow in the footsteps of Jung-ho Kang, who had a successful 2015 season with the Pirates, to open the door for more Korean players to come to MLB.
About the newest Oriole, the Dan Duquette quote-generating program fired up to say that the Orioles "believe (Kim) will be a good hitter here and ready to play the outfield very capably." Duquette also praised Kim's durability, noting that he has been dubbed the Iron Man in Korea - sorry, Kim, that one's taken here. Kim has played in 98% of his team's games over a 10-year period. Duquette had words to say about less quantifiable traits as well, saying of Kim, "He's got a nice disposition, he's ready to go to work every day, and he's very serious about his hitting."
A not-reporter also asked Duquette if there was a major league player who reminds him of Kim. Duquette, fully capable of ducking a question even when apparently being "interviewed" by an Orioles PR team member, suggested instead that fans might go on YouTube and look up all the home runs Kim hit in 2015. I tried to find this video unsuccessfully; perhaps you'll have better luck than me.
If you were wondering how to pronounce the name, the Orioles said Hyun Soo Kim comes out as heeyuhn soo kim. Also, previously I have been hyphenating his name, but since the Orioles did not do so, I won't keep doing so. I imagine they are calling him what he would prefer to be called in America.
One final bit of housekeeping. The Orioles 40-man roster had been full before they added Kim. It seems they tried to make room for him by passing the recently-claimed reliever Edgar Olmos through waivers, where he was claimed by the Cubs. I hope you didn't buy any Olmos jerseys. But now you can buy a Kim one if you want. He'll be wearing #25.