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.
The Spring Training roster crunch continues. As Opening Day approaches, the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres made a trade Monday, sending right-hander Dan Straily to San Diego for catcher Erik Kratz.
All 30 Major League clubs have been working to pear down their roster to prepare for the regular season, which begins for six teams on Sunday. The move made today could be a sign of things to come, as flurries of semi-major to minor trades are often completed in the days leading up to the beginning of the year.
The Padres' addition of Straily is a curious one. He'll likely serve as bullpen depth for them once their season begins, but it is plenty possible he may have to make at least a start or two this season due to his experience there.
Last season, Straily spent most of the season in the Astros' Triple-A affiliate, and he posted a 4.77 ERA and a 124 to 25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 122 2/3 innings pitched. He pitched in 22 games, all starts.
As for his entire career, Straily, 27, has a 4.60 ERA and a 4.71 FIP in 260 1/3 innings pitched, working to a 217 to 105 strikeout-to-walk ratio at the big league level. He has spent time with three different clubs to this point.
On the other side of the deal, the Astros' acquisition of Kratz fills a need at backup catcher. Jason Castro will open the season at the starting spot, but Kratz is now a pretty much lock to make the team off the bench.
A stocky 6'5" and 240 pounds, Kratz may be able to provide some power at the position. As a former 29th round pick, Kratz, now 35, was never considered a top prospect, but worked his way up to the Major Leagues and has been fairly productive.
In 2012 and 2013, Kratz, with Philadelphia, hit a combined 18 home runs (nine in each year) in 157 and 218 plate appearances, respectively. He slugged a respective .504 and .386 those two seasons, by far his best.
With Houston, Kratz's main role will be to spell Castro off the bench and perhaps hit a few home runs while he does so. He fills a definite need though and finds himself in a new home as rosters continue to be crunched.
Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle and Dennis Lin of the San Diego-Union Tribune first reported the story.
The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to sign free-agent first baseman Pedro Alvarez, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Alvarez will earn $5.75 million in a one-year deal with the O's.
Sherman reports that the deal includes about $1.5 million in available performance bonuses.
Alvarez was non-tendered, or granted his free agency, by the Pirates earlier in the offseason. Alvarez has had trouble finding a spot where he is even adequate in the field, forcing the Pirates to let him and his big bat go.
In Baltimore, however, Alvarez may be a better fit.
The Orioles currently project to have Mark Trumbo as the designated hitter come Opening Day, but he could end up having to move to the corner outfield, where he would likely replace Henry Urrutia.
This would allow Alvarez to only use his bat, which is by far his best asset and even earned him a trip to the All-Star Game in 2013.
In 2015, Alvarez slashed .243/.318/.469 with 27 home runs and 77 RBIs in 491 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, he was worth 0.2 Wins Above Replacement, due mostly to his horrific -26.4 UZR/150 games.
Alvarez could prove to be very valuable with the Orioles for two reasons. First, he is no longer a liability in the field. Second, he will be playing 81 games at Camden Yards, one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the Major Leagues.
The Orioles have had a fairly large offseason, re-resigning Chris Davis and Matt Wieters and bringing in Hyun-soo Kim, Trumbo, and Yovani Gallardo either through trade or signing.
The Chicago White Sox have signed free-agent outfielder Austin Jackson to a one-year, $5 million deal, as Jon Heyman of MLB Network first reported. They announced the deal.
Jackson had reportedly received a contract from the Angels worth more money, but turned it down.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Jackson desired to play center field. This was something that the White Sox could offer, but the Angels could not.
Even though it took him awhile to find a contract, Jackson was ineligible for a qualifying offer at the beginning of the offseason.
The lack of interest in Jackson was likely due to the surplus of outfielders on the market. Jason Heyward, Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes, and many other starting caliber outfielders were available throughout the offseason.
The 29-year-old Jackson had a really good season in 2015.
He hit .267/.311/.385 with nine home runs, 56 RBIs, and 17 stolen bases in 527 plate appearances last year, spending time with the Mariners and Cubs.
According to FanGraphs, Jackson was an above-average fielder and was worth a total of 2.3 Wins Above Replacement.
The White Sox have needed outfield help to upgrade over Avisail Garcia, who has not lived up to his prospect potential. In 2016, Jackson projects to be Chicago's center fielder, with Adam Eaton (their center fielder in 2015) sliding over to a corner spot.
The St. Louis Cardinals extended second baseman Kolten Wong on a five-year contract, the team announced Wednesday. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported the move.
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reported that Wong will make $25.5 million over the five years.
The contract, which begins in 2016, guarantees Wong $1.25 million this year, $2.5 million in 2017, $4 million in 2018, $6.5 million in 2019, and $10.25 million in 2020, according to Cotillo.
The deal also includes a $12.5 million option for 2021 with a $1 million buyout.
Wong was not projected to hit arbitration until 2017 and was not scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2019 season. Now, St. Louis gains control over a cornerstone for two more seasons.
The 25-year-old was the Cardinals' 1st round pick (No. 22 overall) in the 2011 MLB Draft.
He had his first full season in the Major Leagues in 2014 and finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. A defensive-first player, Wong was worth 1.9 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (fWAR).
In 2015, Wong hit .262/.321/.386 with 11 home runs and 61 RBIs in 613 plate appearances. Wong's overall play was better this past season, as he was worth 2.3 fWAR.
The 2015-2016 offseason was fairly quiet on the extension front, with Dee Gordon, Brandon Crawford, and Salvador Perez representing the only three players to receive extensions from their respective teams as of this writing.