Reports of Oh Opting Out of Rockies Deal, Returning to Korea Off Base
Rockies reliever Seunghwan Oh returned to his native Korea for the off-season earlier in the week, expressed his affection for his homeland, but reports that he was thinking of opting out of his 2019 contract with the Rockies were off-base, according to sources close to the situation.
Oh did tell the media after two years pitching in Japan and three in Major League Baseball he looks forward to eventually returning to Korea to pitch, but sources close to the situation say he was speaking about after his contract with the Rockies expires.
What also has to be considered is Oh has to serve a 72 game suspension reportedly for gambling overseas whenever he does return to the KBO, which adds to the idea he will return once he has completed his MLB career, and after sitting out the suspension will make a farewell tour, similar to Chan-ho Park.
The Rockies acquired Oh in advance of the July 31 trading deadline from Toronto.
The right-hander went 6-3 with three saves and a 2.63 ERA in 73 appearances for the Jays and the Rockies. He had a vesting club option worth $2.5 million for 2019, which kicked in after he surpassed 70 appearances in 2018.
Oh, however, pitched for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan (2014-15), the st. Louis Caridnals (2016-17) and signed as a free agent last winter with the Blue Jays, who in return dealt him to the Rockies for two prospects.
Rockies officials declined comment on Oh’s situation.
Oh made his first big league post-season appearance with the Rockies, who won the National League (NL) wild card game over the Chicago Cubs before losing to the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Division Series earlier this month.
"It's not easy living in a foreign country,” said Oh. “You have to face the opposing hitters on the mound, and there are a lot of other things you have to battle off the field. Everything away from the stadium is an extension of competition."
Oh spent his entire nine-year KBO career with the Samsung Lions, and he remains the league's career leader in saves with 277.