Yooner or later it had to happen. All the pieces were in place. A selfie picture, a pitcher with shoulder problems, too many denials of a deal, and the drama of a pending physical. But the proof for me was when I realized I had already written about it enough that I did not need to check again on my memory as to how to spell the hyphenated Oriental name.
A blizzard of reports abound on this snowy Thursday morning in Maryland that the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a three-year, $5.75-million deal with Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon. There are also other financial incentives attached to starts, it is reported.
How do we evaluate this? I’m not sure. Perhaps the headline of Jon Heyman of CBS Sports who broke the story says the most, “Yoon and Orioles have agreement – pending dreaded physical.”
Of course, all of this relates to shoulder problems that relegated Yoon to bullpen duties in 2013 and an ERA of 4.00 in that role. Prior to that, he was regarded as an elite pitcher in the Korean Baseball Organization where he was a three-time all star, league MVP in 2011 … along with being an Olympic gold medalist. His career numbers are 73-59 with a 3.19 ERA.
It has been said that he was the second-best pitcher to Hyun-jin Ryu, who posted numbers of 14-8, 3.00 in 192 innings with the Dodgers last year.
The Orioles had people watching Yoon throw recently while FanFest was going on back in Baltimore. Presumably the velocity was there and the shoulder issue is in the past.
Yoon could contend for the fifth starter position, or, in other scenarios fill any of the relief roles, having done them in his past.
It is just such an “apples and oranges” kind of thing to get a handle on how all of these varied factors and Korean baseball numbers would or could potentially translate to the AL East. Unlike Tanaka, his numbers from the other side of the planet are not “lights-out,” and certainly the level of play cannot possibly resemble what the Orioles face. Yet his statistics are decent, and he throws a variety of pitches with fastballs in the low to mid 90s (at least before the shoulder problems).
I sort of have a personal rule of not ending articles with “time will tell” statements – as that doesn’t say anything more than the obvious. But I don’t feel like I have a lot of other word resources on this subject. Of course, as Orioles fans we hope for the best, but have a lot of history that feeds fearing the worst.
Another thing I don’t wear on my sleeve while writing sports is that I’m a pastor in real life. But I’ll close with a Biblical reference from the writing of Solomon – who DD could point to as evidence from the wisest of men that his offseason plan is solid business. So from Ecclesiastes chapter 11, “Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight … Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” DD does operate under this principle of multiplied, diversified investment … like 61 players now contending for 25 spots.
Time will tell ….. aw geez, there I did it!