Orioles negotiating, but have not signed Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon
By By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun|
Feb 12, 2014 at 9:57 AM
In another episode of how the Orioles' offseason turns, Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon posted a "selfie" Twitter photo Tuesday night of him wearing an Orioles hat and flashing the peace sign. The caption apparently reads "ta-da."
There was no confirmation in the United States or Korea on Tuesday that the 27-year-old Yoon, a former Most Valuable Player of the Korea Baseball Organization, has indeed signed a deal with the Orioles.
One source said Tuesday night that the club is negotiating with Yoon, but no deal has been reached -- not even pending a physical. One Korean reporter wrote Tuesday that the Orioles are the favorite to land Yoon but a deal is not done.
On Wednesday morning, an Orioles official said the club has no deals to announce but is continuing to pursue a veteran pitcher to bolster the staff.
The Orioles have become especially tight-lipped after they rejected two players' physicals and pulled out of pending deals this winter. Therefore, even if they have an agreement set with Yoon, they wouldn't confirm it until the deal is done -- which has always been team policy but seems even more critical now.
Given the Orioles' desire for pitching and executive vice president Dan Duquette's affinity for Korean baseball, Yoon and the Orioles seem like an obvious fit.
Regarded as one of the top pitchers in South Korea, Yoon has spent the past nine seasons pitching for the Kia Tigers of the KBO.
It is unclear whether Yoon's future in the major leagues is as a starter or reliever.
Last season, he worked in both roles after battling a shoulder injury. Yoon was 3-6 with a 4.00 ERA and seven saves. His best year was in 2011, when he won league MVP honors by going 17-5 with a 2.45 ERA.
Yoon worked out for the Orioles late last month in Southern California, and the club has been in touch with his agent, Scott Boras.
Days after losing out on an aggressive effort to land free-agent starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who signed a two-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks worth a guaranteed $23.5 million last week, there was question whether the Orioles would be able to upgrade their pitching staff in time for the beginning of spring training.
Pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday and their first official workout is Friday.
Duquette believes a key component to sustaining success in the American League East is drawing international talent to Baltimore.
Under Duquette, the Orioles have signed Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada and Cuban outfielders Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez.