The Baltimore Orioles are dragging a streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons into 2012. Last month, they made a move that could pay significant future dividends when they inked 17-year-old Kim Seong-min to a $550,000 contract. A lefthander considered to be South Korea's best pitching prospect, Kim is even expected to report to the O's minor-league camp in Sarasota, Fla., in the weeks ahead.
But that bird-dogging has come at a cost: The Korean Baseball Association, the sport's governing body in South Korea, has banned the O's scouts from future sanctioned events, including tournaments often frequented by big-league scouts. Major League Baseball does permit teams to sign players as young as 16. But in South Korea, there's a protocol. This is from the Baltimore Sun, which cited a report by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency:
The [Korean Baseball Association] contends that the Orioles should have first inquired with the KBO about Kim's availability before attempting to sign him.
On Wednesday, the KBA suspended Kim from playing or coaching in Korea indefinitely, citing that the teenager violated a rule in having contact with a club before his final season of high school. While Kim turned 17 in April, he is reportedly a high school sophomore.