Baltimore Orioles agree to terms with Japanese LHP Tsuyoshi Wada

The Orioles have agreed to terms with Japanese lefty starter Tsuyoshi Wada, which reopens their pipeline to Japan, according to an industry source. He will sign a two-year, $8.15 million deal with a 2014 option worth $5 million, the source said. It is the Orioles’ first foray into the Japanese market since signing Koji Uehara before the 2009 season.

Wada may not end up as the only pitcher from Japan’s Nippon Baseball League on the roster. The club is also seriously interested in Taiwanese lefty Chen Wei-Yin, who pitched for the Chunichi Dragons. It would be unprecedented if the Orioles could land both – and perhaps a bit of a long shot considering multiple major league teams have inquired about each pitcher.

The push into the Asian market comes on the heels of news out of Korea that South Korean submariner Chong Tae-Hyon will not be joining the Orioles and instead has signed a four-year, $3.1 million deal to stay in the Korean Baseball Organization. The Orioles had offered a two-year, $3.1 million deal and had Chong in for a physical.

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette never confirmed that Chong passed his physical, saying only that the veteran right-hander was weighing another option in Korea. 

The club’s attention, however, has turned to Japan and specifically Tsuyoshi Wada, who according to several sites will turn 31 in February. A soft-tossing strike thrower often compared to former Oriole Jamie Moyer, Wada pitched for Japan in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and the country’s World Baseball Classic team in 2006 that won the inaugural title. Listed at 5 feet 10, 170 pounds, Wada consistently throws his fastball in the mid-to-high 80s, but he survives on a deceptive, three-quarters delivery and the ability to throw several pitches for strikes. He also misses bats, earning him the nickname “Dr. K of Tokyo” while in college. Throughout his career, he has maintained a 3-to-1 strikeout rate or better. Last year he was 16-5 with a 1.53 ERA in 184 2/3 innings with the Hawks. He struck out 168 batters and walked 40. He became a free agent in November and did not need to be posted.

Chen, 26, also did not need to be posted because, as a Taiwan native, his length of contract in the NPB was negotiated when he signed. His fastball reaches in the low-to-mid 90s. He was 8-10 with a 2.68 ERA in 24 starts with the Chunichi Dragons while battling injuries.

via Orioles agree to terms with Japanese LHP Tsuyoshi Wada – baltimoresun.com.

Chong Tae-hyon Ditches MLB Dream with Baltimore Orioles

Chong Tae-hyon, the free agent pitcher who was aiming to become the first Korean to advance directly to Major League Baseball from the Korean league, did not sign with the Baltimore Orioles, but instead joined the Busan-based Lotte Giants.

Lotte officially announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to a four-year deal with Chong worth W3.6 billion, which includes a W1 billion signing fee, an annual salary of W500 million and a W600 million incentive (US$1=W1,154).

“I became disheartened when the negotiations with the Orioles became drawn out, but Lotte’s active approach touched my heart. I am thrilled at the opportunity to be able to play in Busan, a baseball city known for its passionate fans. I hope I can make a huge contribution to the team and help it win the title in 2012,” Chong said in a press release.

In explaining his decision to surrender his MLB ambitions, he said, “The result of the medical test with the Orioles showed that there were some problems with my liver, and we couldn’t narrow our differences over how to treat the issue.”

The player initially agreed to a two-year deal with the Orioles on Nov. 22 worth US$3.2 million, including a $200,000 signing fee and an annual salary of $1.5 million. But the signing of the contract kept getting postponed due to the medical test result, and Chong returned to Korea on Dec. 7 for further tests.

He declined to comment further on the matter and sought fans’ understanding “for not being able to explain in detail under the regulations of the MLB.” He added that factors outside of baseball also led him to return home.

“After I went to the U.S., I realized that the obstacles I would face, such as taking care of my child’s education and finding a suitable living environment, were much bigger than I had expected.”

via The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Chong Tae-hyon Ditches MLB Dream Due to Health Issue.