The Orioles have arguably had the worst off-season of any Major League team. They had the much-publicized contract snafus with closer Grant Balfour and outfielder Tyler Colvin, backing out of contracts with both at the last minute. They traded closer Jim Johnson and, as some have stated, whiffed on the return.
Most importantly, though, the Orioles have needed to bolster their starting rotation and they have not done that. They recently signed Korean pitcher Suk-Min Yoon, but it remains to be seen how he will contribute. They were interested in Bronson Arroyo, but he signed with the Diamondbacks, citing the Balfour and Colvin issues as a deterrent from playing in Baltimore. They were interested in A.J. Burnett, who wanted to play near his home in Maryland, but lost that battle to the Phillies.
Now, with few options and the regular season drawing ever closer, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Orioles are willing to give up their first round pick, 17th overall, to sign an impact starting pitcher like Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana. As Rosenthal notes, the Orioles are built to compete within the window of the 2014-15 seasons. They would be foolish to enter the regular season without having addressed their most glaring need. Rosenthal adds that if the Orioles decide to stay in-house, they could turn to 2012 first rounder Kevin Gausman to round out the rotation. Still, their depth behind Gausman is lacking and would find themselves scrambling in the event of an injury.
Jon Heyman reports that the Orioles have reached agreement with right-hander Suk-Min Yoon on a three-year, $5.75 million deal.
Yoon was the 2011 MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization. He is purported to have a 93 m.p.h. fastball, a hard slider and what scouts say is an above-average change. In 172 1/3 innings this past season he had 178 strikeouts and a 2.45 ERA. Of course, that was in the KBO, and that does not profile as even a Triple-A level league. It’s sort of hard, therefore, to gauge how he’ll do here.
He has been both a starter and a reliever, but it’s not clear how the O’s plan to use him. They may not even know yet.
The Cubs were among the teams that scouted Korean pitcher Suk-Min Yoon earlier this week in Arizona, but it doesn’t appear as though the free agent right-hander will be heading to Wrigleyville.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune has heard from sources that the Cubs are turned off by Yoon’s desire for a multi-year major league contract and are “unlikely to get into a bidding war for his services.”
Yoon, who has been represented by Scott Boras since he won the Korean Baseball Organization MVP in 2011, is also believed to be drawing interest from the Rangers, Orioles, Giants, Dodgers, and Twins.
The 27-year-old converted to the bullpen last year following a shoulder injury, but he’s had great success in the past as a starter. Yoon posted a 2.45 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 172 1/3 innings for the Kia Tigers in 2011.
Andrew Rickli of SportsReel Boston reports that the Rangers are showing interest in Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon. Just yesterday we learned that he had a throwing session in front of Orioles and Giants scouts this past Friday, so there could be a mini bidding war soon.
Moon won the 2011 MVP in the Korean Baseball Organization after posting a 2.45 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 172 1/3 innings. He’s represented by Scott Boras. The Rangers recently lost Derek Holland for a stretch due to injury, so they’d certainly be a fit for Yoon.