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KBO seeks to revise agreement with MLB to keep players home

The country’s top professional baseball league is pushing to change its player contract agreement with Major League Baseball to ensure young prospects aren’t constantly poached by foreign clubs, a senior official said Friday.

Jeong Geum-jo, the head of baseball operations in the Korea Baseball Organization, said the league in particular is seeking revision to a section covering “status check.”

Under the agreement, if a major league club wishes to contact an amateur or a professional player who is currently playing or has played in the country, the club, through the MLB commissioner’s office, must first check the player’s status and availability with the KBO and must receive approval before engaging the player.

Currently, however, MLB teams don’t require KBO’s approval to sign amateur players, Jeong said.

“If we tell MLB that a certain professional player is under contract and must not be engaged, MLB teams can’t contact him,” Jeong said. “But the most we can do with amateurs is to tell MLB that a player is soon eligible for the KBO draft and that we hope MLB teams don’t engage him. There’s nothing we can do if he is signed anyway, because an amateur is not a KBO player.”

Jeong said the KBO wants to prohibit teams from signing student-athletes.

“We’re seeking to revise the agreement so that only those who are playing or have played for professional teams can sign with MLB teams,” Jeong said. “That way, we can protect amateur players.”

The KBO has often talked about the need to change the agreement, in light of amateur players’ signings in recent years, but it has not previously discussed how it wanted to revise the pact.

Jeong’s comments come a week after the KBO filed a complaint with MLB. 

(Yonhap News)
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