Not that is came as much surprise, but the Phillies were sellers at the trade deadline. Howie Kendrick was sent to Washington, Joaquin Benoit was sent across the state to Pittsburgh, and Jeremy Hellickson is now pitching for Baltimore. It was that deal with the Orioles that brought an immediate addition to the Philadelphia roster, Hyun Soo Kim. Barely a week with his new team, and he has started in the outfield in every game of the Phillies series with the Los Angeles Angels.
So who is Hyun Soo Kim, and does he have a future in Philadelphia? Many baseball fans might remember him as the victim of a beer can throwing incident in the 2016 American League Wildcard game in Toronto as Kim caught a fly ball. He was not hit by the can, and the fan responsible was sentenced recently to 200 hours of community service and a year’s ban from MLB stadiums.
Aside from that, Kim put up decent numbers in 2016, hitting .302 in 95 games with six home runs, 22 RBIs, 16 doubles, and 36 runs scored. His stats did tumble this season, as his average dropped to .232 with a home run and ten RBIs in 56 games with Baltimore before the club sent him to Philadelphia. During his time playing in South Korea, Kim earned a reputation as a durable player and a patient hitter. Because he was rarely out of the lineup, he was given the nickname South Korea’s “Iron Man.” Along with consistently hitting .300 in South Korea, he also showed off his solid defensive skills by winning Gold Gloves. He also represented his country in the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic. Baltimore thought so highly of Kim they signed him to a two-year, $7 million dollar deal at the end of 2015.
Kim’s success in South Korea has not translated to MLB yet. Given this is his second year in the bigs, and the fact he is 29, he still has time to develop. If that development is successful, the Phillies might have a steady outfielder to help them over the next few years as they rebuild into a contender.