Report: South Korea to ban O’s scouts
BALTIMORE — The Korean Baseball Organization, which officially filed a letter of protest against the Baltimore Orioles to Major League Baseball on Tuesday, took their issue one step further Friday by announcing plans to ban the organization’s scouts from attending its amateur games.
South Korea’s amateur baseball governing body told the Associated Press that they planned on informing MLB of the decision on Friday. The KBO is alleging that the Orioles broke protocol by signing 17-year-old pitcher Kim Seong-Min. According to a baseball source, MLB is investigating the organization’s claim, which was filed as an official complaint to the League office on Tuesday.
The KBO told Reuters on Tuesday it wanted an explanation for why it had not been informed discussions were taking place between the Orioles and Kim.
“We have sent an official complaint to MLB,” said Michael Park, the KBO’s operations manager. “We were told they will look into the case. … They are investigating whether the Orioles did sign Kim to a contract.”
Although there is nothing stopping foreign teams from signing Korean amateur players, the process needs to be done after making inquiries to the KBO first, the organization said to Reuters.
“We are cooperating with MLB to resolve this concern,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a text message to MLB.com.
Kim, who had been pitching for the 18-and-under South Korean national team, is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound left-hander who throws a fastball, curveball, changeup and slider. His signing with the Orioles was announced Jan. 30, with Duquette quoted in the press release as saying, “We are glad to sign a player that our scouts feel is one of the top amateur left-handed pitchers in South Korea. Kim has an excellent curveball and very good control.”
Park declined to comment on Duquette’s statement.
“The MLB will let us know once they have decided upon a proper measure of response,” Park said. “Poaching our players like this makes it difficult for [South Korea] to keep its scouting rules tight and to develop our youth sports programs.
“We only have 50 high school teams and taking promising players away like this makes it very hard for Korean baseball to stay strong.”