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Free agent closer Seung-hwan Oh under investigation for gambling

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Korean-born free agent closer Seung-hwan Oh is under investigation for gambling by Korean authorities, according to multiple news outlets in Korea.

Fresh off two years in Japan's NPB, in which he averaged 40 saves per season for the Hanshin Tigers, Oh has been hoping to make the leap into Major League Baseball at age 33. In 646.1 innings, Oh owns a career 1.81 ERA with a 10.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.

Oh's name was implicated in foreign-gambling during an investigation of his former teammate Chang-yong Lim of the KBO's Samsung Lions. Ahead of the KBO's championship series in October, the team suspended three players following claims of overseas gambling, including Lim. Without these three players, the Samsung Lions went on to lose the Korean Series to the Doosan Bears.

According to testimony, Lim utilized a relationship with a local gang member to secure VIP gambling experiences in Macau, as well as the Phillipines.

It is not clear that any concrete evidence has linked Oh to the gambling operation, although news of Oh's possible involvement arose only after prosecutors at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office reportedly secured a list of people who frequented the casinos in Macau.

The next step for the prosecution is to investigate whether Oh and Lim acted together, although a date for Oh's summons is not yet set. Oh's agent stated via press release:

"Oh is at a critical point of signing a new contract with a Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) or an MLB team and he wants to clear suspicions as soon as possible. Should Oh face a summons, he will make clear statements and fully cooperate with the prosecution's investigation."

[Korean Times]

Oh was originally scheduled to appear at the Winter Meetings last week in Nashville, but did not make the journey, presumably out of respect for the investigation.

Should the investigation clear his name, Oh will be free to sign with any team as an international free agent. His former team, the Hanshin Tigers, had previously expressed interest in re-signing the closer.

For a full write up on Seung-hwan Oh, including his incredible nickname "The Final Boss," visit our free-agent profile.