However this situation ends officially with Seong Min-Kim, the 17-year-old Korean high school pitcher, the Orioles are taking a big public relations hit for this signing - and it appears that it is deserved.
MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko was the first to report tonight that, according to his industry sources, Kim’s contract with the Orioles was going to be voided.
Korean reporter Daniel Kim told me tonight that the Korean Baseball Organization has issued a press release in Korea, where it is now Thursday morning, stating that the Orioles cannot negotiate with Seong-Min Kim for 30 days. Daniel Kim also reported that the Orioles have been fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball.
Johee Yoo of Yonhap News Agency sent me a few notes via Twitter that read this way:
“@masnSteve There is a precedent of a Korean player’s deal getting voided. Pil Joon Jang from 2008 with LAA. Angels signed him again later.”
“@masnSteve Angels also didn’t do ‘status check.’ Deal got voided, Angels couldn’t sign him for a month. 29 other teams were free to do so..”
“@masnSteve But no one else did, so Angels got him anyway :) May be similar this time, I suspect.”
Yoo reported tonight that the Orioles will still get Kim. He wrote in this story,“The contract between Kim and Baltimore is still valid,” one KBO 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.”
It should be pointed out that, as of tonight, there has not been any word and/or confirmation of any of this from MLB or the Orioles.
So there still could be a chance, maybe a good one, that the Orioles still sign this player officially 30 days from now. But the PR hit may last longer than that.
Some fans, along with reporters and analysts in the media, seem to be rushing to social media tonight to criticize the Orioles over this situation. I am very open to hearing Dan Duquette’s side of this and what he believes actually happened or what went wrong.
But the Orioles have admitted to what they termed “the club’s unintentional breach of protocol in failing to tender a status check in the process of signing Seong-Min Kim.”
Whether is was intended or not, the Orioles should have known the protocol or rules, however you want to say it. They made a mistake which has blown up in their faces and provided fodder for anyone that wants to take a shot at them over this.
The club could have avoided all of this by simply going through the proper channels in signing Kim and it is hard to excuse them for not doing that. Again, we have not yet heard from the club on this matter beyond the statement that Duquette issued Friday night.
So while the Orioles appear likely to still get Kim this time, it appears they put MLB in a tough spot with baseball officials in another nation and they are paying a price for that.