Pitcher Chong to pursue MLB deal
The free agent market is starting to bustle, as professional Korean baseball is seeing its most prolific drafting period.
Chong Tae-hyon said Thursday that he will end negotiations with his former team SK Wyverns, and seek a Major League Baseball (MLB) deal. Though no specific team has declared its interest for the now free agent pitcher, MLB has contacted Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) on Tuesday, asking if Chong was available for draft as a free agent.
The 33-year-old is one of the sought-after players in alongside Lotte Giant’s Lee Dae-ho. In 11 KBO seasons, he has a 32-22 win-loss record with 99 saves in 477 games, with an earned run average (ERA) of 1.93 in 569 innings. If he succeeds in finding an offer from the MLB, he will be the first to join the Major League from the Korean Baseball League (KBL) directly.
The result for Lee, who ended his second round of talks with former team Lotte Giants, is also highly anticipated by fans. The Giants offered 6 billion won, but Lee announced that he will consider the matter until the third and final negotiations that will take place on Saturday.
Japan’s Orix Buffaloes have made no secrets about their desire to draft the slugger. It is speculated that they will offer 7.5 billion won, as soon as the Lotte talks end.
Free agent Jun Jae-hoon signed a 2.8 billion won contract with former team Doosan Bears early this week, the first free agent deal that succeeded this year.