On the eve of the first official workout of the spring, the Orioles have reportedly come to a three-year agreement with Korean right-handed pitcher Suk-min Yoon.
According to several reports, Yoon will receive $5.75 million guaranteed over three years, but the Orioles will refrain from making an official announcement until he passes his physical, which shouldn’t be considered a foregone conclusion based on the experiences with Grant Balfour and Tyler Colvin earlier this winter. The 27-year-old dealt with a shoulder injury while pitching with the Kia Tigers last season, going 3-6 with a 4.00 earned run average and seven saves while pitching in relief.
Yoon is a former Most Valuable Player of the Korea Baseball Organization as his best season came in 2011 when he went 17-5 with a 2.45 ERA in 23 starts and 27 appearances overall. It remains unclear whether the Orioles will use Yoon as a starter or as a long man out of the bullpen.
The initial scouting reports say Yoon possesses a low-90s fastball, an above-average changeup, and a slider, but it’s difficult to gauge how well his repertoire will translate in facing major league hitters.
The Orioles have been the favorite to land Yoon for quite some time and speculation of an agreement increased Tuesday night when the pitcher posted a picture of himself wearing an Orioles cap on his official Twitter account. Yoon becomes the latest international player that executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has signed, joining the likes of Taiwanese pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, Japanese pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada, and Cuban outfielders Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez in recent years.
Yoon worked out for the Orioles and other clubs in southern California earlier this winter as they remained in touch with his agent, Scott Boras.
Here are a number of highlights of Yoon’s work in the Korea Baseball Organization: