The Baltimore Orioles are really in a tough spot regarding Hyun-Soo Kim.
Unfortunately for the Baltimore Orioles, the only big question of the day isn’t whether or not they’re going to be able to play tonight in Philadelphia. For what it’s worth, the forecast is sketchy at best. Whether or not the city of Philadephia wants to brave those conditions to see the Phillies is another story. But then again it’s not as if they’re all out watching the 76ers…
…but I digress. The situation with Hyun-Soo Kim seems to be getting more and more untenable by the moment. And the Orioles aren’t blameless in this. The blame on their side lies in signing a deal with a player in which he literally can’t be sent to the minors without giving his consent. If anything, this should show people the dangers of things such as opt-out clauses among other things. If you give a player that type of leverage, he’s going to use it to his advantage.
However there’s also no question that based on Kim’s spring performances, he’s not ready to be a big leaguer. So given that clause in his contract, the absolute worst-case scenario from the organization’s perspective has come true. Again, hopefully that’s something of which the Orioles and other teams take note. That is if Murphy’s Law means anything.
That Balls Outta Here
I would expect this to somehow balloon into some sort of national story that paints the O’s in a bad light – similar to the Fowler, Gallardo, and Balfour situations. And I’m not talking about the error of giving Kim that type of leverage. That’s something that’s well worth criticizing the organization over – heck, I did it myself in this article.
I’m talking more on the level of personnel management. At some point it’ll turn into the fact that it’s the Orioles keeping Kim flailing in the wind. Nevermind the fact that it took Kim the better part of a week to decide to enforce his contract. (And for the record I support his decision because I would have done the same thing – it’s just that for me it would have been a no-brainer…I either get to play in the big leagues, or I get a free $7 million.) But again, I digress…
…I’m not going to lie, if I were the Orioles I’d seriously consider just paying the man his money and accepting my losses. I would tend to agree with Dan Duquette in that Kim just needs some time to work some things out. And the minors are a great place to do that – at this point it would be an extension of spring training. In terms of his maturation as a player and his adjustment to life in the United States, the minors make the most sense.
And that’s why I say they should just cut their losses and eat the money. In general I think that’s a very bad idea – cutting someone and having to pay them. But the O’s are already carrying a Rule 5 pick that has to be on the roster without fail. They can’t afford to carry another player who they literally have no choice but to keep. It’s tough enough to carry one guy like that – two makes it near impossible.
And part of that stems from the fact that Kim doesn’t seem willing to engage in something that would improve him as a baseball player. Again, that’s his right as per the deal he signed – so I can’t totally blame him there. But it would stand to reason that if he wants to make it in Major League Baseball he’d consider waiving that right so as to go through a process that’s going to help him to improve.
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Of course, there is another way. There’s always a chance that Kim will wake up with a sore hamstring, or perhaps an injured intercoastal muscle. I’m not suggesting that sending a healthy player to the DL with an invented or exaggerated injury is the most honest of methods. But teams do it all the time – and nobody probably does it better than the Orioles. It’s all but a part of the game.
Obviously there’s always a chance that Kim might come out and say that he’s fine and he’s unsure why he’s going to the DL. That happened to the O’s a year or two ago if you recall. However that aside while it’s not necessarily as on the level as folks would like to think this world should be, it would give Kim 15 extra days to work things out in Sarasota. Then the Orioles would have another 30 days in which they could send him to the minors on a rehab assignment.
That time very well might do the trick. In terms of the player getting his way along with the team, it would basically be a compromise. Would it look suspicious? It would for sure. But unless Kim himself says that something is up, I wouldn’t see any other team raising a stink about it. Basically, ensure that all is well in your camp before you start pointing fingers.