April 3, 2016 Update: Kim has made the Orioles' roster, according to a report.
One of the Baltimore Orioles' key offseason additions will not be suiting up for them on Opening Day.
Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim has refused an outright assignment to the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate come the start of the season.
Kim had this liberty due to a clause in his two-year, $7 million contract signed with the club this offseason. He had to give consent to any demotion to the minor leagues, which is not the case here.
Leeco Sports Agency, a Seoul, South Korea company, issued this statement.
"Kim would like to see his contract honored and executed faithfully," the company said, via Yonhap News in Korea. "He also hopes to receive fair opportunities to continue his career as a major leaguer in Baltimore."
The issue arose as final Spring Training cuts have been made this week.
Kim has had a dismal spring, hitting just .182 (8-for-44) with a walk, two RBIs, three runs scored, and no extra-base hits. His OPS is .411.
These poor stats can be attributed to the fact that Kim is adjusting to living in America and playing in the Major Leagues, a far more superior league to the Korean Baseball Organization.
It is worth noting, however, that Jung-ho Kang, Pirates' infielder, also struggled during 2015 Spring Training when making the same transition. However, he made his adjustments and eventually ended up in Rookie of the Year discussion.
As for the team, the Orioles are now limited in their options. They could try to trade Kim, release him (but still owe him $7 million), or offer him back to Korea. The third option, however, is not what Kim wants.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that Kim had not made the Orioles' Opening Day roster and would be sent to Triple-A.