Global Baseball

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Chinese Signings: The Beginning

The New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners have opened up the market for Chinese baseball players this year, adopting very different strategies to do so.

The Yankees, whose interest in developing the game in China has been well documented, signed two Chinese teenagers this week, the first players ever signed out of China with the consent of the Government. The new minor leaguers are 19 year old left-handed pitcher Kai Liu, and 19 year old catcher Zhenwang Zheng.

The Mariners also made two signings, but seem to be attempting to make their inroads into Chinese scouting by hedging their bets on older, more experienced players who might allow them to lay claim to the first ever Chinese born players in the Major Leagues. This morning, the Mariners’ official website announced that they have signed two players from the Chinese national team to minor league contracts. The new Mariners farmhands are 28 year old catcher Wei Wang, and 24-year-old “Infielder/Outfielder” Yu Bing Jia. Wang was the first player to hit a home run in the 2006 World Baseball Classic when he went deep against Koji Uehara, one of the best pitchers in the Japanese League. Wang went 2-9 in China’s three WBC games, adding a double in the Chinese team’s final WBC game against Taiwan.

The 24-year-old Jia did not appear in the WBC, but according to the Mariners’ press release, he has played on the Chinese national team since 2003 and led the Chinese Baseball League in home runs this year. He was also a member of the Chinese team at the 2002 World University Championships that pulled off an upset over a United States team that featured eventual major leaguers Aaron Hill, Dustin Pedroia, Connor Jackson, and Rickie Weeks.


June 21, 2007 Posted by | Chinese Baseball, International Signings | 5 Comments