Chong Tae-hyon arrives at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday morning. (Yonhap News)
Chong Tae-hyon, the South Korean free agent pitcher in contract talks with a Major League Baseball club, returned home early Wednesday with no deal in place.
Chong, who has held talks with the Baltimore Orioles, arrived at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, about 5:40 a.m. with his family. Chong refused to answer questions about his contract status, only saying, “Nothing has been decided, and I’ve got nothing to tell you.”
Before Chong arrived, a source close to the pitcher claimed Chong had signed a deal on Tuesday and an announcement is expected in the next two to three days.
Chong, who has spent his entire 11-year career with the SK Wyverns in the Korea Baseball Organization, became a free agent this winter. He halted a preliminary round of contract talks with the Wyverns last month and bolted for the U.S. on Nov. 18 to seek opportunities in the majors.
The Orioles stepped up and reportedly offered the right-hander a two-year deal worth $3.2 million plus a spot on the 40-man major league roster.
U.S. media reports last month had said Chong only needed to pass the physical and the Orioles were poised to introduce the Korean as their new pitcher before the end of November.
But with no announcement into December, the Orioles general manager Dan Duquette told the team’s official website earlier this week that Chong was still deciding between remaining in the KBO and playing in the majors.
Asked whether there were any medical issues, Duquette only said that Chong has been tested by the team doctors and discussions were still ongoing.
“We are going to try to get something done over the next week or so,” Duquette was quoted as saying.