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Kia Tigers lefty Yang Hyeon-jong hoping to test foreign markets in winter

All Headlines 13:42 October 16, 2014

SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- Left-handed pitcher Yang Hyeon-jong of the Kia Tigers is hoping to sign a contract with a foreign club for next season, as long as his team grants him his wish to leave home, officials for the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club said Thursday.

After the end of the ongoing KBO season this week, Yang will have completed seven full seasons here and will be a restricted free agent. This means he can be posted for interested Major League Baseball (MLB) clubs or enter negotiations with Japanese teams, if the Tigers give him the green light.

An official with the Tigers said the decision will be made after the end of the season.

"Yang has expressed strong desire to go overseas," an official of the Tigers said. "We're reviewing the possibility (of letting him go) while considering a wide range of factors."

Yang, 26, has often said he'd like to pitch overseas at some point. If the Tigers decide not to make him available for MLB posting or contract talks with Japanese clubs, Yang will have to play two more years in the KBO before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

In that case, Yang won't need the Tigers' approval to leave the KBO and may sign with a big league club without going through posting.

Earlier this year, former Kia pitcher Yoon Suk-min signed a free agent contract with the Baltimore Orioles after pitching in nine full seasons in the KBO.

Yoon had earlier wanted to be posted after the 2011 season, his seventh in the KBO, but the Tigers convinced him to stay on board for two more seasons.

In 2012, left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin, after pitching for the Hanwha Eagles in the KBO, was posted for MLB teams and signed a six-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Last year, former Samsung Lions' right-hander Oh Seung-hwan, as a restricted free agent, signed with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan for two years.

Yang has matched his career high this year with 16 victories in 28 starts for the Tigers, who will miss the postseason for the third consecutive season. He carries a 4.25 ERA after 165 innings, and is scheduled to make his final start of the season on Friday.

Over his career, Yang is 62-42 with a 4.33 ERA. He has struck out 740 batters in 860 1/3 innings.

An agent who has followed Yang closely this year said the pitcher should attract attention from foreign clubs if the Tigers make him available.


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