Is this player a free agent match for the Orioles?

It seems very unlikely to happen to me, but when an online sportsbook placed odds of big league teams signing specific free agents, the Orioles got on the list with one player. It was a player that has yet to play in the majors.

And the Orioles were not listed as one of the favorites to sign infielder Ha-Seong Kim of the Korea Baseball Organization. In fact they are the seventh-betting favorite. Here is how BetOnline.ag lists the current contenders:

4/1 - Los Angeles Angels
17/4 - Toronto Blue Jays
9/2 - Seattle Mariners
5/1 - San Francisco Giants
11/2 - Milwaukee Brewers
6/1 - Boston Red Sox
13/2 - Baltimore Orioles

So I’m saying there’s a chance.

MLBTradeRumors.com ranks him as the No. 7 free agent in this class, projecting that he signs a five-year, $40 million deal with the Texas Rangers, who will also need to pay a projected $7.625 million posting fee.

Kim Swings Heroes Sidebar.jpgKim, who made his KBO debut at 18, just turned 25 and age is a lot of the allure here. You would have this player heading into some prime seasons. The question mark is how will the KBO stats project into Major League Baseball.

But his stats are strong. In 2020 for the Kiwoom Heroes, he batted .306/.397/.523 in 138 games with 24 doubles, a triple, 30 homers, 21 steals and an OPS of .921, which was a career best. The right-handed hitter is just 5-foot-9 and 167 lbs., so the pop comes in a small package. He walked more than he struck out this season with a 12.0 walk rate and 10.4 strikeout rate.

Said MLBTradeRumors.com: “Kim is a unicorn given his blend of age, power, speed and defensive aptitude at a premium position. Most Asian professional players are in their late 20s or early 30s by the time they’re either posted for MLB clubs (typically after seven or eight seasons) or reach unrestricted international free agency (after nine seasons).”

For his career, Kim has started 731 games at short and 71 at third base. This season he made 86 starts at shortstop and 41 at third. Keith Law of The Athletic ranks Kim his No. 17 free agent. He said some scouts are not sold that he can stay at short in the majors and he might be a player that moves between positions.

Teams cannot sign him just yet, as he is expected to be posted after Thanksgiving.

The timing doesn’t seem right with the Orioles to sign Kim. They have José Iglesias back at short for another year and they have drafted several infielders in the last two years. But then again if they can upgrade with a young infielder that could be around for several seasons, it might be worth looking at. I’ll be surprised if Kim to Baltimore gains any traction at all, but at least one oddsmaker has them on the board right now.

Here are some other odds for a few free agents.

Trevor Bauer
3/1 - Los Angeles Angels
4/1 - San Diego Padres
5/1 - New York Mets and San Francisco Giants
6/1 - Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees

Nelson Cruz
3/1 - Chicago White Sox
7/1 - Tampa Bay Rays
4/1 - Houston Astros
9/2 - Seattle Mariners

Marcell Ozuna
3/1 - Washington Nationals
7/2 - Texas Rangers
4/1 - Chicago White Sox
9/2 - Boston Red Sox
5/1 - St. Louis Cardinals

George Springer
9/4 - Atlanta Braves
3/1 - Washington Nationals
7/2 - New York Mets
9/2 - Chicago White Sox
5/1 - Boston Red Sox

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