The Orioles’ search for outfield help has led them overseas, as Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the club has made an offer to Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim. The offer is believed to be for two years at $3-4 million annually.
Kim, a 27-year-old left-handed hitter, owns a .318/.406/.488 batting line over 10 seasons with the Doosan Bears in the Korea Baseball Organization. He slugged a career-high 28 home runs this past season while showing excellent plate discipline with 101 walks against 63 strikeouts. His power is unlikely to translate completely, but the Orioles are willing to take a shot on him after Jung Ho Kang‘s success with the Pirates this past season.
Kim is a free agent this winter, so the Orioles wouldn’t have to go through the posting process in order to sign him. Connolly believes that he’d likely slot in at left field if a deal gets done.
UPDATE: Per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, Gee’s deal with the Royals could max out around $5.3 million if he reaches certain incentives. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports that he could opt out of his contract by March 2. That’s an earlier opt-out date than we normally see, which could give him enough time to find another opportunity elsewhere if the Royals don’t see him as a fit.
6:47 p.m. ET: After being cast aside by the Mets due to the influx of young arms in their rotation, free agent right-hander Dillon Gee has signed a minor league contract with the Royals, reports CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
Gee was a rotation staple with the Mets from 2011-2014 while posting a 4.01 ERA (90 ERA+) with 6.6 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9, but he struggled to the tune of a 5.90 ERA through seven starts and one relief appearance this past season prior to being designated for assignment in June. No team wanted to take on the remainder of his contract, so he passed through waivers unclaimed and finished the season at the Triple-A level before opting for free agency in October.
There could be opportunity with the defending World Series champions, but that Gee had to settle for a minor league deal shows how far his stock has fallen over the past year.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Braves have added veteran right-hander Jhoulys Chacin on a minor league contract. The deal presumably includes an invitation to spring training, where he could compete for a spot in the starting rotation.
Chacin was once an above-average starter with the Rockies, posting a 3.58 ERA (127 ERA+) from 2010-2013, but he was limited to 11 starts in 2014 due to a shoulder issue before being given his release last spring. He pitched with the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate for a stretch before latching on with the Diamondbacks, where he made four starts and one relief appearance while posting a 3.38 ERA and 21/10 K/BB ratio over 26 2/3 innings. While it feels like Chacin has been around forever, he doesn’t turn 28 until January.
As of now, the Braves’ 2016 rotation will likely include Julio Teheran, Matt Wisler, Bud Norris, and some combination of young starters. The team has a bunch of options for those spots, but it’s not hard to imagine Chacin making a handful of starts with the Braves next season.
The Phillies announced today that they have signed catcher J.P. Arencibia to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Arencibia, best known for his time with the Blue Jays, failed to make the Orioles out of spring training last year and latched on with the Rays in April. He spent most of the season at the Triple-A level, but was called up in late August and finished strong by batting .310 with six home runs and a .921 OPS over 24 games. Of course, he also had a 22/1 K/BB ratio, so we shouldn’t make too much out of the small sample size. While Arencibia has pop, he has hit just .212 with a .258 on-base percentage for his career. The Rays apparently weren’t believers in the late-season surge, as they designated him for assignment last month.
The Phillies already have Carlos Ruiz and Cameron Rupp in-house, but Arencibia will try to battle for a backup job during spring training.
After the Nationals missed out on free agent Jason Heyward, MASN Sports’ Pete Kerzel hears that the club continues to have dialogue with the Rockies about a potential trade for Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon. Both are left-handed hitting outfielders, which is an area of need for Washington as they attempt to balance their lineup.
Gonzalez is owed $37 million over the next two seasons, so he could be an appealing alternative to the big-name free agent outfielders remaining on the market. The 30-year-old got off to a slow start this past season, but finished with a career-high 40 home runs to go along with a .271/.325/.540 batting line. Still, his injury history and home/road splits could give some teams pause about the Rockies’ asking price. They are believed to be looking for premium pitching in return.
After a breakout 2014, Blackmon delivered an even better follow-up this past season by batting .287/.347/.450 with 17 home runs, 58 RBI, and 43 stolen bases over 157 games. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and will remain under team control through 2018.
Blackmon could slot in center field for the Nationals, essentially replacing free agent Denard Span. However, Gonzalez might be better suited for a corner, which could mean more Bryce Harper in center field.