Thursday, August 23, 2001
M's accused of acting unethically
BEIJING -- China's baseball association accused the Seattle Mariners on Thursday of acting unethically in signing a 16-year-old
Chinese pitcher and said the team was duped by a sports agent.
Firing back in the battle over Wang Chao, the association said
the right-hander signed a 12-year contract last year with a Beijing
In Seattle, however, the Mariners reiterated Thursday that they
handled the signing according to Major League Baseball rules, and
that there was never a sports agent involved in negotiations.
"No agent at all, none whatsoever," said Ted Heid, director of
Pacific Rim scouting for the Mariners. Heid said he spoke with
Wang's parents Wednesday, who assured him "everything was in
The young pitcher worked out with Seattle pitching coach Bryan
Price before Wednesday's 16-1 Mariners win over the Detroit Tigers
at Safeco Field. Wang and Heid were to fly Thursday night to
Arizona, where Wang will join other players at the Mariners' Peoria
Heid said the team never dealt with the Chinese baseball
association during contract talks.
If there were serious problems, Heid says the Mariners probably
would have heard before now from the association, which is under
the government's Sports Ministry.
The association said it plans to complain in writing.
Association official Yang Jie said the Mariners never contacted
them about Wang. He also expressed concerns about Wang's future if
he is hurt while playing in the United States.
"We think it's bad that the Seattle Mariners acted this way,
that the player is unprotected and they acted unethically," Yang
said. "We've not had a single fax, phone call or met anyone from
Heid said Major League Baseball has rules on how old players
must be when teams sign them.
"We followed those rules impeccably. We signed him to a 2002
contract per Major League Baseball guidelines," Heid said.
The 6-foot-4, 160-pound Wang, from Beijing, spent several weeks
with the Mariners in Peoria during spring training this year.
Yang said an American sports agent -- whom he refused to name --
took Wang to the United States, but because he wanted to profit on
the deal, withheld from the Mariners that the pitcher was already
Chinese regulations require Wang to have approval from his
Beijing team and the association before joining the Mariners, Yang
He said the association would not have blocked the transfer and
that it wants Chinese players to play overseas so they can improve
before the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
"We would have been very supportive," Yang said.