Closing in on Chong?
First, I wanted to note that the Orioles made it official in signing free agent infielder Matt Antonelli today. He is expected to compete for a job in Spring Training and will be used at second and third base.
And there could be more news on the way. Multiple reports on Monday had the Orioles in talks with Koren submariner Chong Tae-hyon. A free agent, Tae-hyon wouldn’t have to be posted and he would presumably be added to an Orioles’ bullpen that figures to undergo some vast changes this offseason.
As of early Monday evening, no deal has been reached with Chong, although word out of Korea is it’s a done deal pending medicals. New executive vice president of baseball Dan Duquette said in his initial press conference he was going to be aggressive internationally, and this would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Duquette didn’t comment on the reports that internationally that a deal with Chong is done but he did confirm that the club has a high level of interest in him, noting his pinpoint control and success on the world stage (most recently at the World Baseball Classic) as very intriguing.
“He has a lifetime ERA under 2,” Duquette said of Chong. “[A] unique delivery. He has gotten results on the world stage when its counted.”
Chong has started earlier in his career, but Duquette said the Orioles interest would be in using him as a late-inning arm.