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.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.