SARASOTA, Fla. – Talk about stealing a guy’s thunder.
After South Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon waited four days for his three-year, $5.575 million deal with the Orioles to be finalized, the Orioles agreed to terms with one of the top free-agent starters on the market this offseason, making a four-year, $48 million pact with Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jimenez's arrival likely impacts the way the Orioles use Yoon.
Jimenez will be in the club’s starting rotation on Opening Day. As for the 27-year-old Yoon? Maybe not.
The club was expected to include Yoon in its competition for the No. 5 starter spot along with Zach Britton, Steve Johnson, T.J. McFarland, Alfredo Aceves, Brian Matusz and Kevin Gausman.
But since Yoon pitched so well out of the bullpen last season when season with shoulder issues, maybe that’s the best place for him.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Yoon might open the season in Triple-A to pitch in Norfolk’s starting rotation and get adjusted to baseball in the United States away from the spotlight of the big league stage.
When Yoon signed, there were reports that there was a clause in his contract that prevented him from being sent to the minors, but I'm hearing otherwise.
That was even before Jimenez’s impending signing became public, so maybe now more than ever, Yoon’s path to the majors might first make a stop the minor leagues.