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UPDATE: Orioles agree to contract with Korean reliever Tae-Hyon Chong

Nov 21, 2011, 9:30 PM EST

Orioles cap

UPDATE: According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, the Orioles and Tae-Hyon Chong have agreed to a contract. Details to come.

6:20 PM: The Orioles are believed to be close to signing 33-year-old right-hander Tae-Hyon Chong, who would be the first player to jump directly from the Korean League to the majors.

MyKBO.net believes it will be a two-year, $3.2 million deal, and MASN’s Roch Kubatko confirms that a deal is approaching.

According to a Korean site linked to by MyKBO, Chong, a submariner, tops out at 85 mph with his sinking fastball and throws a curve. He had a 1.48 ERA, 16 saves and a 39/25 K/BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings for the SK Wyverns last year. He pitched for South Korea in the 2008 Olympics and had a 2.25 ERA and seven strikeouts in four innings as the gold medal-winning team’s closer.

  1. hgrubsttipkcuf - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    YESSSS. We are on our way

  2. fellspointbird - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    Duquette meant “literally, and now” when he said the O’s were going to tap into the Asian market.

  3. yankeesgameday - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    He’s a submariner?

    That is a major step below even Aqua Man in the pantheon of lame super heroes. Craig is going to be very upset he didn’t get to write this story.

  4. Jonny 5 - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    This looks like a fail to me. Submariner who relies on his sinking fastball? Tops out at 85? Secondary pitch a curve? He’s bound to walk a ton of MLB players imo. A buttload ton of walks.

    • pipkin42 - Nov 21, 2011 at 11:39 PM

      To be fair, Chad Bradford was a sinker-reliant submariner who didn’t even throw that hard. But yeah, your point is pretty good.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:25 AM

        Yeah, judging by his K/BB ratio in Korean baseball, I’d say he’s in for a ride in the MLB.

  5. Walk - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    33 is a bit old for a rookie. Say what major league team is baltimore affiliated with these days anyways?

    (psst just kidding)

  6. dowhatifeellike - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    I don’t think anyone has any idea about success in the S. Korea translating to the MLB. The sample size is too small.

    Even if this guy isn’t that good, the Orioles desperately need a durable long-reliever for games that are already lost. Gotta save the few good arms they have.

  7. baseballisboring - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:05 AM

    The 39/25 K/BB ratio isn’t that encouraging.

  8. bleedpurplenblack - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:29 AM

    Didn’t Duquette say signing ML FAs was a risk, and he wasn’t going to do it?

    So instead, we hit the Korean FA Market and sign a 33 year old reliever.

    What a dolt.

  9. areyesrn - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    when a team signs black players, does hardballtalk write headlines with, “THE YANKEES AGREE TO TERMS WITH BLACK RELIEVER”

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:41 AM

      Really? For fucks sake man, gain some perspective. The term “black” in your contextual context is meant to denote race. The term “Korean” is used to define nationality. If an Italian, German, or French player would have signed, I’m sure those descriptors would have been used. Shocking the things people try to turn into a race issue.

    • foreverchipper10 - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      Also this notes that he is the first player to come straight from the KOREAN league to MLB.

  10. Charles Gates - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    The price is right at $1.6MM AAV. This works for me.

  11. agerikson - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Suburban Baltimore has a huge Korean community so I wonder if this also serves as a pull for that market to come to the ballpark or watch the games on MASN.

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