A Seoul court has fined Oh KRW 10 million ($8,300) for breaking South Korean laws by gambling at a Macau casino, according to spokesman Joon Young Maeng at the Seoul Central District Court on Tuesday.
Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Lim Chang-yong, Oh’s ex-teammate with South Korean club Samsung Lions, was also fined the same amount.
Oh and Lim were recently ordered by the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) to pay a fine of KRW 7 million ($5,800) after prosecutors decided their actions constituted a summary offense. Both were also hit with half-season bans if they decide to return to the KBO League.
But that won’t be a problem for Oh, who signed a one-year deal that includes a club option for 2017 with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards plan to hire a full-time interpreter to help Oh adjust to the United States.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said that the club has been devoting time to find talent in the Asian market. The team unsuccessfully bid on Korean first baseman Byung-Ho Park, who landed with the Minnesota Twins, and last year, they bid on shortstop Jung Ho Kang, who plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals had interest throughout Oh’s free-agent process and had actually been scouting him since 2009.
Oh has accrued 357 saves between the KBO and the Nippon Central League. Although he has never made more than 64 appearances in a season, Oh has notched seven seasons with at least 37 saves.
“I’ve achieved everything in Korea and Japan, both countries, as a closer,” Oh said, speaking through a translator at the press conference. “So I wanted a new environment and was looking for motivation and a new challenge. That was why I decided to join MLB.”
Oh declared his interest in coming to the United States after his contract ended with the Hanshin Tigers of the Japan Central League.