Roughly three months after signing outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, the Orioles are already having some buyer’s remorse on the deal. The Orioles have internally discussed buying out Kim in a deal that would rid them of some of money owed to the player while allowing him to potentially return to the Korean Baseball Organization, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes.
Late last year, the Orioles inked Kim to a two-year pact worth $7MM. That deal, as it turned out, had a pair of unique quirks. First, Kim’s deal allows him to become a free agent upon completion rather than entering the arbitration process. The contract also prohibits the Orioles from sending him to the minor leagues without his consent. At the time of the deal, the Orioles probably didn’t think much of that second clause, but it has become quite relevant as Kim struggles in spring training.
Roughly one year ago, the Orioles and pitcher Suk-min Yoon tore up their three-year, $5.575MM deal, allowing him to return to the Kia Tigers of the KBO on a record-breaking four-year, $8.2MM pact. When asked by Rosenthal over the weekend if he would consider such a move, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette said “I don’t know if we’re there yet.”
When the O’s signed Kim, they hoped that the KBO sensation would step in as their everyday left fielder. However, Kim does not appear to be major league ready and Rule 5 pick Joey Rickard has been excelling in recent weeks. Rickard is raking in spring and also offers solid defense, leading many within the club to favor him as the choice in left field, though one O’s official expressed concern that the team is putting too much stock into spring training performances. Despite Rickard’s promise and Kim’s struggles, however, Duquette noted that he is not ready to give up on the 28-year-old Korean.
“These transitions, they take a while,” Duquette said. “You’ve got the language. You’ve got the culture. The baseball is a little different. There are better pitchers here.”