The Orioles officially announced the signing of South Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon this afternoon. As it was reported late last week, he agreed to a three-year, $5.75 million contract.
The pre-signing physical was the last thing standing in the way of the deal becoming official today. And that has been anything but a formality with the Orioles this winter, as deals with Grant Balfour and Tyler Colvin were both nixed due to issues raised during their physical exams. However, Yoon apparently checked out just fine, even though he dealt with some shoulder issues last season.
Here’s an announcement from Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette:
“We are excited to bring Suk-min Yoon to the organization. He has been a top pitcher in the Korea Baseball Organization and has pitched successfully in international competition. We look forward to his contributions to the Orioles.”
Yoon, 27, posted a 3.19 ERA over nine seasons with the KIA Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization and took home Most Valuable Player honors in 2011. He saw his performance and velocity drop off after participating in the World Baseball Classic last year, posting a 4.00 ERA and a 76/28 K/BB ratio in 87 2/3 innings between the rotation and the bullpen. It’s not clear yet how the Orioles intend to use him.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.