Korean player finds black pitcher to be a bit too black

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Saw this via Baseball Think Factory. On the one hand, oh my stars and garters that anyone would say something like this. But really, this makes me laugh out loud more than anything because it’s so damn matter-of-fact that finding actual racism in it as opposed to just cringingly-bad social awkwardness is a real stretch.

First baseman Kim Tae Kyun of the KBO’s Hanwa Eagles was asked which pitcher he had the hardest time against. He said Shane Youman, who is an American playing for the Lotte Giants. Youman is black, you see, and that creates some issues according to Kim:

“The Lotte Giants’ Youman is the most difficult player to play against. His face is too black, so it is hard to bat because his white teeth and the ball confuses me when he smiles on the mound. So, I suffered a lot.”

I figure there are a lot of ways to go with that translation. But I can’t think of any of them that really salvage the idea Kim was trying to express.

For what it’s worth Youman’s response was more bemused than anything else and Kim did apologize. And I presume that the Hanwa Eagles’ media relations people have Kim Tae Kyun locked in a room somewhere right now giving him intensive lessons from the Crash Davis School of Baseball Player Cliches.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.