Padres News: Padres Showing Interest in Korean OF Hyeon-soo Kim

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Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

The San Diego Padres offseason has once again taken a different path as the team has recently been linked to the Korean Baseball Organization’s Hyoen-soo Kim. The left-handed hitting outfielder is coming off a career year and is looking to explore his major league options.

The Baltimore Orioles have already made it known they have offered the 28-year-old a contract in the neighborhood of $6-8.5 million dollars for two seasons. The Orioles are in search of an outfielder and the next big thing is tapping the Korean baseball league. It remains to be seen if Kim can be a successful major league talent.

Hyeon-soo Kim is considered the iron man of the Korean league. In his nine seasons in the league, he has played in 95% of his teams games. The fact he remains durable on the Astroturf-like fields they play on bodes well for his future in the majors. The outfielder is an on base machine. He walked 101 times last season while striking out only 63 times. In fact in his nine seasons in the KBO, Kim has walked more than he has struck out six times. He puts the ball in play and has a great eye at the plate.

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

The 2015 season was a breakout season for Kim as he had a batting line of .326/.438/.541 with 28 home runs, 103 runs scored and 121 RBI’s with 11 stolen bases. All that in 141 games for the Doosan Bears. A contract year is a great time to put up numbers like that. He will cash in one way or another. 

It has been reported Kim has been offered more money to remain in Korea, but is very interested in challenging himself and seeing if he has what it takes to be a major leaguer. You have to respect a player willing to come to another country where the game is played at a much higher level and be willing to compete for a job.

He is described as an average defender with average speed. Kim is a right handed thrower and seems likely to be used as a DH or left fielder. The Baltimore Orioles, Padres and Oakland Athletics are all known to have some interest. They are still likely more suitors out there as well. The reports are just beginning to surface of his interest in playing in the U.S.

Most of his at bats are in the Jamsil Baseball Stadium. It is known as one of the biggest ball parks in the Korean Baseball Organization. So his power numbers have always been diluted a bit. Kim has 142 home runs in his nine career seasons. The 28 he hit this past year was his career best, but he did hit 23 and 24 home runs in 2009 and 2010. He will likely be a 10-15 home run guy in the major leagues if allowed to play everyday. His forte is getting on base and that’s where he true value lies. His career batting line is .318/.406/.488 in 4,066 at bats. 

The Padres have a current opening in left field so perhaps Kim could be a nice addition. Jon Jay was brought over from the Cardinals for Jedd Gyorko so maybe he will be the man in left, who knows. The team needs more left-handed hitters though and the Padres also need players that get on base and put the ball in play. If his price comes at a decent price, expect the team to be active in courting this outfielder. A.J. Preller is clearly thinking outside the box when it comes to developing the Padres major league system. Perhaps Kim will be the next budding foreign star.

2 thoughts on “Padres News: Padres Showing Interest in Korean OF Hyeon-soo Kim

  1. Kim is an Oriole now. I was hoping the Padres would sign him. Baltimore got him for something between 2-4 million a season (believed to be for two years). Too rich for the Padres blood apparently. Seemed like an ideal option for the Padres. But we all know the Padres simply don’t sign free agent hitters. At least not good ones.

  2. Mr. Clark: If Hyeon-soo Kim wants to play in this country, he is the Padres best LF option. He’s available and affordable, and his OBP approach to hitting will translate well in MLB.

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