Sign the team up for kitchen duty or something. Roch Kubatko just sent this lovely news byte out:
The Korean Baseball Organization’s protest over the Orioles’ signing of Seong-Min Kim will lead to Major League Baseball voiding the contract of the 17-year-old Korean pitcher, according to industry sources.
I’m still trying to receive confirmation from the Orioles.
I’m told that the Orioles could be facing some sort of punishment, and they will have to restart the negotiating process at a later date if they still want to bring Kim into the organization.
The Orioles signed Kim to a minor league contract on Jan. 30 that reportedly included a $550,000 bonus. The KBO protested the lack of protocol, saying the Orioles failed to first contact MLB, which was then to contact the KBO commissioner to get clearance for negotiations to begin.
More fallout came when Orioles scouts were banned from the country by the Korean Baseball Association.
Last week, executive vice president Dan Duquette issued the following statement regarding the controversy:
“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.”
Soooo…yeah. This is just not good. At all. Basically, here’s a quick summary of what this means:
- MLB is voiding Seong-min Kim’s contract, so he can’t play with the Orioles organization this year.
- The KBO has already banned him from playing, so he can’t play at home, either.
- The Orioles will possibly be allowed to sign Kim later, but they’ll have to wait for some time before this happens.
- Oh, and the Orioles could potentially be penalized for all of this, too. Isn’t sucking royally already enough punishment? Apparently not.
There is hope, though, and it comes from Jeeho Yoo, a writer for Yonhap News (he covers Korean sports in English):
At the very least, the Orioles might come out with Kim in the organization eventually. It’ll just take a little time, a lot of patience, and a ton of losing first. At least we’re used to losing, so we’ve got that part down. Now we just have to wait…and take a hit or something.
ETA: Yonhap News is reporting that the Orioles have been fined an undisclosed amount of money by MLB for their breach of conduct. On the other hand (and from the same article), here’s the deal with Kim’s contract:
According to KBO officials, MLB said the contract, reportedly worth US$550,000, will not be approved for the next 30 days as part of its sanctions on the Orioles. Kim will have to leave the team for the duration and train on his own.
“The contract between Kim and Baltimore is still valid,” one official said. “But after receiving our complaint, MLB has decided not to approve it for 30 days in what we feel is a symbolic gesture. And fining the team is also a significant step.”
Kim gets to stay with the Orioles, but he’ll have to leave and train independently for thirty days. This could have been a lot, lot worse, to be honest. The kid will still be a member of the Orioles organization; it just won’t be official for a month until MLB approves the contract. This is a strange stroke of luck for this team – a fine and a slap on the wrist. I was just waiting for MLB to come down hard on the team and penalize them in the First-Year Players’ Draft or something. Fortunately, MLB decided to be suspiciously nice to the Orioles for a change.
I guess I’m just not used to any form of leniency with this losing team.
ETA: The Orioles’ official website is saying the contract will be voided after all. I don’t know what to believe right now. We’ll have to see which of these reports is correct in the next few days.