Korea’s protest has apparently won out: according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, MLB is set to void the contract agreed to by the Orioles and 17-year-old left-hander Seong-Min Kim on Jan. 30.
The KBO filed a letter of protest over the signing earlier this month, stating that the Orioles failed to go through the proper channels in signing an amatuer Korean player. The Orioles acknowledged the breach in protocol, with GM Dan Duquette apologizing earlier this month for not doing a status check through the commissioner’s office.
As a response to the signing, the Korean Baseball Association, which holds sway over amateur baseball, banned Orioles scouts from attending high school and college games in the country.
Kubatko’s tweet indicates that Kim will be made a free agent and that the Orioles will be eligible to re-sign him at a later date.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.
Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.
Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.
Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.