Pirates prospect Ji-hwan Bae has been found guilty by a South Korean court of assaulting his former girlfriend. Naver Sports reported the news, with Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic covering the story in further detail (subscription link).
Allegations arose earlier this year against Bae, a talented 19-year-old infielder, relating to a New Year’s Eve incident in 2017. The Pittsburgh organization reported the matter to MLB officials, who did not impose a period of administrative leave while investigating the matter. Bae proceeded to play in 35 games for the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League affiliate.
Despite the determination of guilt for his actions against former girlfriend Seul-Gi Kim, Bae will evidently not serve a prison sentence. Indeed, he’ll only be ordered to pay Kim 2 million won. That translates to less than $2K USD, a relative pittance for a player who received significant paydays when he signed with the Braves and — after he was made a free agent due to international signing improprieties, including with regard to his own situation — with the Pirates. Kim tells The Athletic that she plans to donate that and other money provided to her by Bae.
It seems that Kim has yet to be contacted by MLB investigators, though surely there’ll be some effort to bring the matter to a resolution from the league’s perspective. Though not formally covered by the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault & Child Abuse Policy, minor-league players such as Bae are subject to a similar rules regime through policies instituted by the MLB commissioner’s office. He could theoretically face a suspension, fine, or other disciplinary measures from the league.