By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
5:51 PM EST, February 17, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. – Four days after agreeing to terms with right-hander Suk-min Yoon, the Orioles made their three-year deal with the South Korean pitcher official on Monday.
The club is expected to hold a press conference on Tuesday at noon to introduce the 27-year-old Yoon. He will likely be able to immediately begin working out with the club, although he can’t participate in Grapefruit League games until he receives his work visa, which could take two weeks."We are excited to bring Suk-min Yoon to the organization. He has been a top pitcher in the [Korean Baseball Organization] and has pitched successfully in international competition," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "We look forward to his contributions to the Orioles."
The Orioles agreed to terms on a three-year, $5.575-million deal on Thursday, and Yoon then flew cross country from Southern California to take his physical. Since then, he’s made multiple appearances at the Orioles spring training complex, but until now, his locker in the team clubhouse sat empty in anticipation of the deal becoming official.
Earlier in the day, the club cleared 40-man roster space for Yoon when utility man Jimmy Paredes – who was claimed on Saturday but was never in camp – was claimed by the Royals.
Following a sleepy offseason, the signing of Yoon marks the club’s largest acquisition. Other than the Orioles’ two-year, $4.5-million deal with reliever Ryan Webb, the other acquisitions have been low-level one-year major league contracts and minor league deals.
Yoon was a starting pitching for most of his career in South Korea, but he has also been a reliever, recording 19 saves in 2006 and making his final 17 appearances last season – and recording seven saves -- after dealing with shoulder issues. He was just 1-5 with a 4.16 ERA in 11 starts last season, but was 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA with 19 relief appearances.
It’s still unclear whether the Yoon will compete for a roster spot as a starter or a reliever.
The Orioles have come under scrutiny this offseason after deals with free-agent reliever Grant Balfour and Tyler Colvin fell through because of concerns found in their club physicals. But Yoon – even despite his recent injuries – passed his exam.
Now, Yoon must obtain his work visa – something all foreign players must do before being able to officially join the team. He is expected to apply for his visa through the U.S. embassy in Canada in order to prevent him from making a day-long trip back home to South Korea.
In the meantime, Yoon will still be allowed to work out with the club – including pitching in intrasquad games and B games -- but he won’t be able to participate in Grapefruit League games until his visa is processed.
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