In an attempt to fill at least one of their outfield holes, the Orioles are negotiating with, and have made an offer to, 27-year-old Korean Hyun-soo Kim, according to industry sources.
The offer is believed to be two years in length and in the $3 to $4 million range per season, one source said.
A left-handed batter and right-handed thrower, Kim is considered one of the best contact hitters in the Korean Baseball Organization. Unlike several other Korean players who have come to MLB recently, he is not subjected to the posting process and can sign with any club. Several other teams reportedly have interest in Kim, with one report suggesting the Oakland A's are considering him.
He seemingly is a good fit for an Orioles team that has a lot of sluggers but few contact hitters with plate discipline. And for an organization, led by executive vice president Dan Duquette, that has had success in the Asian baseball market.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Kim has shown both power and a keen eye in his nine-plus seasons with the Doosan Bears of the KBO – he began his professional career at age 18. He hit .326 with a .438 on-base percentage, 28 homers and 128 RBIs last year in 141 of the Bears' 144 games.
He's been called Korea's Iron Man for playing in most of his team's games in each of the past nine seasons.
Perhaps most impressive – and perhaps what the Orioles need in their lineup the most – is that Kim walked 101 times with just 63 strikeouts in 2015 and has had more walks (597) than strikeouts (501) over his career.
According to one talent evaluator, his power probably translates more to 15 homers in the majors after playing in one of the most pitcher-friendly home ballparks in the KBO. His ability to get on base could make him a leadoff candidate for the Orioles, who have no obvious player set for that spot.
Kim has played left field and first base in Korea, but probably would be primarily a left fielder in the majors, where he would be considered adequate.