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Indians Sign Veteran K-League Pitcher

Posted November. 25, 2005 08:29,   


What made Cleveland sign Choi Hyang-nam? He will be 35 years old next year. His achievement this year for Kia was nothing out of ordinary: 2 wins and 5 losses, and an ERA of 4.10.

That did not stop Cleveland from striking a $100,000 deal with Choi.

Lately, there has been some change in how Major League Baseball sees Korean athletes. Park Chan-ho signed a 1.2 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994, and Arizona paid Kim Byung-hyun 2.2 million.

U.S. teams used to be in the market for only the young and talented Korean players, so they could train them and make them into major league materials. But things are different nowadays. They have started to realize that they’re not always getting their money’s worth, not to mention the headache over Korea’s mandatory military service. They have started to pay smaller amounts of money for athletes they can use right away. This is especially true for teams like Cleveland that run on tight budgets.

That’s what Jason Lee, the talent scout that recruited Choi, told his bosses. “He’s cheap, and we can use him as a third or fourth starter.” Choi Hyang-nam is not offended. “It’s not about the money. It’s about my dream coming true.”