According to Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News, Hyun-soo Kim has been offered a minor league assignment by the Baltimore Orioles, but has refused the offer.
Baltimore Orioles outfielder Hyun-soo Kim is resisting a demotion to the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. This sticky situation puts the Orioles in a tough situation.
"It looks like he's not going to be on the 25-man roster to start the season," Orioles executive Dan Duquette said Tuesday.
In his two-year, $7 million deal that was signed with the Orioles this winter, Kim has a provision that states he can not be sent down to a Triple-A team without his consent. Due to this provision, the Orioles must keep Kim on the 25-man roster or release him and pay the outfielder for the entire $7 million contract.
Roch Kubatko of MASN reported Thursday afternoon that there was a "sense" in the clubhouse that the 6-foot-2 left-handed hitter would accept the assignment to Triple-A, but Kim might be thinking otherwise.
Kim, who can play first base along with left field, slashed .318/.406/.488 with 142 home runs and 771 RBI across 4,066 at-bats in 1,131 games. Those numbers came during the South Korean's 10 seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) with the Doosan Bears.
Kim, who has the nickname Machine, is trying to carry on the short legacy of Korean players in the big leagues. Baltimore has Joey Rickard, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Nolan Reimold and Ryan Flaherty available to play the outfield. There just is not room for Kim, but he continually declines a minor league assignment.
"Last year, [Pirates infielder] Jung Ho Kang did a great job in America, so now I have the responsibility to carry that on," Kim said. "Americans [now] know that Koreans can actually play just like Kang does. We've got Kang here."
The spring started with an 0-for-23 streak at the plate, but Kim is now hitting .182 with two RBI. He had his best game against the Pittsburgh Pirates when he went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Only time will tell if Baltimore will add the South Korean to the 25-man roster or eat the $7 million by releasing Kim.