Reliever Seunghwan Oh is returning to his homeland to sign with the Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization, Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News reports (Twitter links). Oh has inked a one-year, $490K deal to join the Lions, with whom he began his professional career in 2005.
Oh isn’t going to pitch again this year, as he’s set to undergo season-ending elbow surgery. The Rockies released Oh last month after finding out he’d need the procedure, and that parting of ways may go down as the 37-year-old’s final major league transaction. If it does, the right-hander will conclude his big league tenure with a 3.31 ERA, 10.05 K/9 against 2.23 BB/9, 45 holds and 42 saves in 225 2/3 innings divided among the Cardinals, Blue Jays and Rockies.
Oh signed with the Cardinals prior to the 2016 season after a resoundingly successful run in Asia. He pitched with Samsung from 2005-13, during which he saved a KBO-record 277 games, logged a sparkling 1.69 ERA in 510 1/3 innings and earned the nickname the “Final Boss.” Oh then had a highly productive two-year tenure with the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan before he headed to the majors.
Now that he’s back with the Lions, Oh will have to overcome a couple obstacles before taking the mound again. Not only will he have to recover from his surgery, but Oh will be required to serve a 72-game suspension for a gambling conviction in Korea, according to Yoo. He’ll sit 42 games this season and the other 30 next year.