Orioles, Hyun-soo Kim deal not final; no news on Chris Davis

South Korea left fielder Kim Hyun-soo reacts after striking out against Japan at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo.
South Korea left fielder Kim Hyun-soo reacts after striking out against Japan at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. (Toru Takahashi / Associated Press)

Another day came and went Monday with no new news on the Chris Davis front. And we are also still waiting for South Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim's two-year, $7 million deal with the Orioles to be completed and announced.

There's no secret that the Orioles are meticulous with their physical exams, and you can expect them to be even more so with Kim, a player who the club's medical staff is seeing in person for the first time.


Barring some kind of setback with those exams, the Orioles are still expected to make their deal with Kim official over the next two days before the industry shuts down for the holidays. Since he is already in town, the club would likely hold a press conference at Camden Yards to introduce Kim.

So, once Kim is officially in orange and black, the next question is how he fits in the Orioles lineup in 2016. He would see most of his time in left field, and given his resume of strong plate discipline and power, he ideally projects to slot into the No. 3 hole in the Orioles batting order – eventually.


Like inexperienced players before him – think about Manny Machado when he first joined the Orioles in 2012 – Kim would likely start lower in the lineup, maybe sixth or seventh, and work his way up with experience.

Kim was a star in South Korea, but because he's making the difficult transition to the major leagues, the Orioles will have to practice patience with him. It might take him a while to get used to the skill level and the speed of the big leagues.

I remember seeing Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang struggle mightily during Grapefruit League games last spring training, but Kang had a strong rookie season and finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting.

The Orioles believe Kim's on-base capabilities – he has a career .406 on-base percentage in his 10 seasons in South Korea – will translate. That's one of the major reasons they signed him, to upgrade their subpar .307 team on-base percentage, which was tied for third-worst in the American League in 2015.

As for Kim's power numbers, he hit 28 home runs last season playing in one of the largest ballparks in the Korean Baseball Organization. The Orioles don't expect him to duplicate those power numbers. They'd be happy with anything beyond 15 homers, which was Kang's total last season with the Pirates after hitting 40 homers in his final season in South Korea.

No news on Davis, but talks continue

There's nothing new of substance on the Chris Davis front. There is still a dialogue between the Orioles and Davis' agent, Scott Boras, but it's looking more likely that nothing will be completed by Christmas. The Orioles are holding to their stance that their seven-year, $150 million offer – which is currently off the table – is as far as they're willing to go. And Boras is still looking for more while cultivating other potential suitors.

The Orioles are determined not to bid against themselves for Davis, and there still hasn't been much buzz about other clubs strongly pursuing the slugger.

Meanwhile, the Orioles still need another starting pitcher -- preferably two -- to upgrade their rotation. They've shown interest in left-hander Scott Kazmir and right-hander Yovani Gallardo, and are interested in the unlikely possibility of retaining left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.

Ultimately, the Orioles aren't likely to go beyond three years for a free-agent pitcher. They haven't done it often in the past – Ubaldo Jimenez was the only free-agent pitcher to receive a four-year deal before the club signed reliever Darren O'Day this month for four years – and there's no reason to believe they'll go beyond that comfort level now.

Kazmir has multiple three-year offers, according to CBS Sports, but he's still seeking that elusive fourth year. The market on Gallardo has yet to develop, mainly because he's tied to draft-pick compensation, so the club that signs him would forfeit its first unprotected pick.

I've heard that Chen could trump both Kazmir and Gallardo and possibly garner a five-year deal, especially since he compiled a four-year track record of consistency and health with the Orioles.


All three would be fits. They'd all look good in the middle of the Orioles rotation. But at this point, it's not imminent that the Orioles land any of them.

Gallardo would be the most likely of the trio to become a better fit as the offseason progresses into the New Year, and the Orioles do have a surplus of draft picks next year, so they wouldn't be tremendously hurt by losing one.

Showalter rides again

The now-famous, 2-year-old horse named after Orioles manager Buck Showalter and owned by Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos is scheduled to run its second professional race Saturday at Laurel Park.

Showalter, which won his first professional race last month at Laurel and netted a prize of $29,640, will race in Saturday's $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity Stakes. The 10-horse race is Showalter's first stakes race and the thoroughbred would be in line to make at least $30,000 if he wins. He will race from the ninth post position.

Showalter's debut drew national attention. But just like in baseball, you've got to keep winning to make your mark. Saturday's race will be slightly longer (seven furlongs) than Showalter's 5½-furlong debut win on a muddy track.

Showalter's race, which is for Maryland-bred horses only, will be the sixth race in the nine-race program Saturday and will begin at approximately 2:44 p.m.

Angelos also won last year at Laurel with a horse named after former Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis. He has another horse at Laurel on Saturday named Lexington Street.

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