Orioles apologize for "unintentional breach of protocol" in signing 17-year-old Korean pitcher

The Baltimore Sun

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has released a statement through the team acknowledging the club failed to adhere to protocol in their signing of 17-year-old South Korean pitcher Kim Seong-min:

"On behalf of the Orioles organization, I offer a sincere apology to the Korea Baseball Organization and the Korea Baseball Association for the club’s unintentional breach of protocol in failing to tender a status check in the process of signing Seong-Min Kim. The Orioles respect Major League Baseball’s recruiting policies and the governing bodies and people that contribute to the growth of baseball around the world.”

Last month, the Orioles signed Kim, regarded as Korea’s top left-handed high pitching prospect, to an international free agent deal, a moves move has drawn outrage from the Korean baseball community, which claims the Orioles didn’t follow the proper measures when signing Kim to a reported $550,000 deal.

The Korean Baseball Organization has a player contract agreement with MLB stating that a major league club interested in any prospective signee playing in Korea – professional or amateur – must conduct a “status check” on the player’s signing eligibility though the commissioner’s office. The KBO contends the Orioles did not do that, and now the KBO wants to impost stricter rules on the signing of amateur players.  

The Korean Baseball Organization, the professional baseball league in Korea, has already filed a formal complaint with MLB, contending that the Orioles failed proper protocol in signing Kim.

This week, the Korean Baseball Association, the nation’s governing body for baseball, banned Orioles scouts from KBA-sanctioned games, which include the national high school and college tournaments that serve as a treasure trove for scouts seeking the country’s top players. The KBA added that the same penalty will fall on major league teams that contact amateur players before their senior seasons.

The KBA also suspended Kim from playing and coaching in Korea indefinitely for making contact with a pro team before his final year of high school.

Players outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico can be signed by major league clubs as international free agents once they turn 16.

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