The Dodgers are expected to finalize the signing of Taiwanese pitcher Chin-hui Tsao to a minor league contract any day now, with Major League Baseball blessing the deal over the objection of Taiwan's top professional league.
That league, the Chinese Professional Baseball League banned Tsao five years ago amid allegations of game-fixing. After Tsao launched a comeback and signed with an Australian team last November, the CPBL pressured the Australian league into honoring the ban, and Tsao was not allowed to play.
However, MLB conducted its own investigation of Tsao several years ago and found no proof that he fixed games, according to two people familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it. After initial reports of the Dodgers' interest in Tsao, the CPBL asked MLB to honor its ban.
MLB declined, but the league is willing to consider any information the CPBL might provide.
The Taiwanese government did not prosecute Tsao, finding insufficient evidence to support the claim he promised to fix two games. The first game was rained out; before the second game, he reportedly told bookies he could not get enough teammates in on the fix. The CPBL expelled Tsao anyway, based on his alleged association with gamblers.
"We contacted MLB on this. We were cleared to pursue him," Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi said. "There were several teams involved in potentially signing him."
Tsao, a 33-year-old right-hander, appeared in 21 games as a reliever for the Dodgers in 2007. He previously played for the Colorado Rockies, becoming the first Taiwanese pitcher in MLB.
He signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2008 but did not make the major league roster. In 2009, he played for the Brother Elephants of the CPBL but was expelled from the league after one season.