SARASOTA, Fla. — Despite the international drama their pursuit of South Korean 17-year-old Kim Seong-min caused over the past several weeks, the Orioles still plan on signing the left-handed pitching prospect once he becomes available, a team source said.
More than thirty days have passed since Major League Baseball’s commissioner’s office ruled it would not approve the contract of Kim because of a breach in protocol, specifically that the Orioles did not conduct a proper status check through the commissioner’s office inquiring about Kim’s eligibility. The club also received an undisclosed fine.
The Orioles are still waiting for clearance to be able to follow proper protocols to sign Kim, and once the team receives permission it will pursue another contract with Kim.
The signing prompted a maelstrom of outrage from the Korean Baseball Organization and the Korean Baseball Association, which labeled the move as an example of the United States fleecing South Korea of its young baseball talent.
Orioles scouts are reportedly still banned by the KBA from amateur baseball events in South Korea which include high school showcases and college games. But it’s difficult to enforce that rule.
Kim was training in Los Angeles in preparation for minor league spring training in Sarasota, but once his contract was not approved by Major League Baseball, he went home to South Korean, but he’s been suspended from baseball in his home country.
The Orioles still believe that Kim, who was initially signed to a reported $550,000 signing bonus, is a rare talent that could be in the major leagues by the time he turns 22. He turns 18 next month.