Quick Hit: Nothing But Positive With Yoon Signing

The Orioles have spent most of the winter shopping at the bargain bin. That has led to names such as Delmon Young, David Lough, Jemile Weeks, Ryan Webb, Alex Gonzalez, Quintin Berry, Francisco Peguero, Jimmy Paredes, Jack Cust, Liam Hendricks, and Alfredo Aceves passing through the transactions lists. Obviously, none of this lands on the front page and none of this makes the team markedly better, although Lough and Webb will be key players in 2014. Most of the additions bring very little upside. Heading into Spring Training, Dan Duquette once again reached into the bargain bin; he may have found something positive.

Duquette and the Orioles agreed to terms with 27 year old Korean right handed pitcher Suk-min Yoon on a three year, $5.25 million deal. Yoon was said to be in Florida for his physical, which isn’t just a formality in Baltimore. Despite recent injury trouble with his right shoulder, Yoon is expected to pass the physical.

{Discuss the Yoon signing on the BSL Boards}

While Yoon isn’t projected to be a star, there is nothing negative to this deal. In Korea, Yoon was one of their best pitchers. Interestingly, he began his professional career as a reliever, but was shifted to the rotation on a full-time basis in 2011. Yoon had breakout success for 2011 and 2012, but was forced to return to the bullpen due to his shoulder problems. According to the website, mykbo.net, Yoon compiled a 3.19 ERA in 303 appearances, including 11 complete games. In 1,129 innings, he allowed  1,008 hits, 75 hits, 345 walks, and 949 strikeouts. In addition to his 6 shutouts as a starter, he did save 44 games.

What the Orioles are getting isn’t quite so certain. They are, however, getting a chance. There is a chance that Yoon can be successful as a Major League pitcher. Working in the low 90’s and with an above average changeup, Yoon could slot in towards the back of the Orioles rotation as a better option than someone like Bud Norris. If he can fill a rotation spot, post league average results, and stay reasonably healthy, the Orioles have a tremendous bargain. Anything more would be a home run.  If Yoon is unable to start because of his shoulder or if the organization deems him more useful in the bullpen, he has been successful. More importantly, his contract would be perfectly reasonable for a reliever. If he happens to be a late inning reliever, the contract is a bargain.

With a winter of negativity almost behind them, the Orioles sign a player with some upside and with little risk. Dan Duquette has had success in the international market throughout his career. Signing Yoon, who was regarded as Korea’s best, at low cost is nothing but a positive. The fact that he gives Buck Showalter different options in shaping the pitching staff makes it even more of a positive.

As with all international pitchers, Yoon’s success will come down to his ability to adjust to Major League Baseball’s culture, workload, and, of course, the American League East lineups. If it doesn’t work out, the Orioles can essentially write off the deal considering the low cost. If Yoon gives anything positive in any capacity–which he should–Duquette made an excellent signing.

The two themes of this winter have been non-action and limited upside. This signing can’t take care of the former, but it does help mask the latter. Yoon has a chance to be a good pitcher. That chance can be seen as nothing but a positive.

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About the author

Gary Armida  

Gary Armida is a Father to the best little girl in the world. After that, he is a writer who has been covering Major League Baseball since 2007. During that time, Gary operated FullCountpitch.com, one of the first independent online sites that gained Major League Baseball media credentials. Over the years, he has covered two Winter Meetings and has written feature articles for a variety of outlets while interviewing Major League personnel such as Rick Peterson, Jason Giambi, Zack Wheeler, Jeff Luhnow, Jack Zduriencik, Michael Bourn, and many others. In addition to his work at BSL, Gary contributes to USA Today Sports Weekly and maintains his personal site, garyarmida.com, that serves as his portfolio as well as a place for additional content.

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