TODAY: Kim is “resisting” a minor league demotion, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets.
MARCH 29, 8:55pm: Orioles GM Dan Duquette acknowledged on Tuesday that the team is planning to chat with Kim about going down to the minors, as Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun tweets. A return to South Korea is not in play right now, according to the GM, but he’s also not likely to make the team (Twitter link via Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com). “I think in these cases, the transition takes some time and I believe he wants to give it some more time,” Duquette said (Twitter link via Encina).
Meanwhile, manager Buck Showalter says the O’s have twice talked to Kim about playing in Triple-A, Rich Dubroff of CSNMidAtlantic.com tweets.
2:52pm: Hyun Soo Kim likely won’t make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Kim has been notably absent from the Baltimore lineup over the last several spring games, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com noted earlier today on Twitter.
Kim has expressed his desire to continue his career in North America, Kubatko has also reported. The Korean outfielder would need to consent to being assigned to the minors, and Rosenthal notes he’s believed to be willing to do so. It’s not clear whether Baltimore would attempt to option Kim or instead expose him to waivers to remove him from the 40-man, but he’ll have some say in the matter given the contract clause.
The Orioles brass has been sending signals that it hasn’t seen what it hoped for out of Kim when he was brought over from the KBO on a two-year, $7MM deal. That contract seemed like a nice risk for a player that looked to have a chance at being a steady on-base threat, and it does have rather limited downside. But the O’s aren’t exactly overflowing with exciting options for the corner outfield, and it would be nice to have a higher-OBP presence in a lineup full of high-K sluggers.
There’s plenty of time for Kim to turn things around, but he may need to acclimate in the minors. Spring stats are of limited value, but they carry increased importance when trying to assess a player who has yet to perform in the majors, and Kim’s don’t inspire confidence. He’s carrying an anemic .182/.229/.182 batting line with just one walk and no extra base hits over 44 plate appearances in camp.