Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Hyun-Seok Jang Signing Comes with a Wrinkle

The Dodgers made a splash in the international free agency game after signing one of the top Korean pitchers that were available. While Dodgers fans should be excited to see Hyun-Seok Jang pitch next spring, there may be a possibility that his debut will be delayed.

The Republic of Korea has a rule that requires all citizens to serve military service for 18 months. Jang is eligible for service, but there is a way he could out of it and pitch for the Dodgers next year.

Jang is participating in this year’s Asian Games for his home country of Korea. The country has a special rule that exempts players from military service if they win the gold medal in an international event.

KBO insider Daniel Kim tweeted about this on Monday.

The Dodgers have had this problem before when signing Korean free agents. Luckily for the team, the pitchers have always finished their tournament with gold.

Before making his Dodgers debut in 1994, Chan-Ho Park won gold at the Asian games while representing Korea. He was able to make his MLB debut on time and had a solid career for the Dodgers.

In nine seasons, Park had a 3.77 ERA including an All-Star appearance in 2001.

The Dodgers ran into the military service issue again in 2012 with Hyun-Jin Ryu. Luckily for the team once again, Ryu was able to win gold. This time in the Olympics.

Ryu spent six seasons with the Dodgers and was one of the team’s best pitchers during their run to nine division titles in 10 years. With the Dodgers, Ryu had a 2.90 ERA and made one All-Star team.

After leaving the Dodgers in free agency in 2020, Ryu has continued his solid career with the Blue Jays.

Now the Dodgers are going to hope and see if their luck continues with Jang.

In Korea, Jang was 3-0 with a 0.33 ERA in 27.1 innings at the high school level. While only giving up one run this season, Jang has a 49/12 strikeout to walk ratio.

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Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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