By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
12:56 PM EST, February 6, 2014
With spring training now just days away -- Orioles pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota, Fla., next Thursday with the first workout set for Friday -- things seem to be heating up for the highly touted free agents without homes.
There was one report today from a sports consulting firm with ties to Korea that right-hander Suk-min Yoon was close to a deal with the Orioles.
I looked into it, and I can’t find anyone that will characterize it as “close.” Of course, given the Orioles’ offseason and the two failed physicals, the club won’t be characterizing anything until any deal becomes official.
The best I could come up with is that the Orioles are still in negotiations with Yoon, but so are multiple other teams. I’d imagine something happens soon with Yoon (little poetry there), but I don’t know an exact timetable or exact landing spot.
No question the Orioles are interested, but I’m not sure he is a great fit. Yoon had shoulder trouble last year and started the season rehabbing and then in the bullpen for the Kia Tigers.
Some people I have talked to say he may be a better fit starting out in a bullpen role -- he has been a closer before in Korea, including for some time in 2013 -- especially in the AL East.
Bottom line, I don’t think Yoon qualifies as a slam-dunk starter the Orioles desire. Not that he couldn’t become that, but there would be some questions until he proves himself.
Bronson Arroyo’s long winter also could be coming to an end soon.
Several media outlets have reported that the Orioles are among the finalists, along with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers. The New York Post reported that Arroyo’s demands have dropped to the two-year, $22 million range.
That’s the sense I was getting, too. And although it had been reported all along that the holdup with the Orioles was a potential three-year deal, I’m still not convinced the Orioles pay $11 million per year for the 37-year-old right-hander. I would think the annual value would still have to drop some for the Orioles to be comfortable.
Again, though, anything can happen given how close we are to spring training.
Two other quick notes on this icy afternoon: former Orioles outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds has taken a newly created job with the Major League Baseball players’ union. He’ll be a special assistant for player program development.
And the Orioles officially announced the signing of pitcher Evan Meek to a minor league deal.
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