Toronto Blue Jays Among Teams Interested In Suk-Min Yoon

Sep 29, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; A general view of Rogers Centre prior to a game between Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

With the offseason push for pitching still underway for many teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays, it should come as no surprise that the team is being tied to almost any available arm at this point in the winter. Enter Suk-Min Yoon, the Korean right-hander who is yet to choose a team and has quite a few squads drooling over him.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Blue Jays are among the teams that have made bids for Yoon. The Scott Boras client could be close to a choice this week, deciding between the Red Sox, the Orioles, and Diamondbacks for certain. The Rangers, Cubs, Giants, and Twins were also attached to Yoon rumors earlier this season.

The 27-year-old Yoon will certainly carry with him a lot of debate, and part of that could be why it has taken so long for him to sign this winter. Concerns about his durability have caused teams to question whether he belongs in the rotation or in the bullpen, as he’s never pitched more than 172 1/3rd innings in Korea, and bounced back and forth between starting and relieving.

However, according to Cafardo, worries over a possible elbow injury are seemingly behind him, as his medicals have come up with no lingering concerns. For a team like the Blue Jays, that is something that certainly will peak their interest.

As far as pure stuff, Yoon has as much potential as any starter on the market. According to Korea Joon Gang Daily, Yoon features six pitches, including a four-seam fastball, sinker, slider, changeup, curveball and forkball. His fastball sits in the 90-92 MPH range and he compliments that with a sharp breaking slider, clocked in around 85-86 MPH. He features an 83-85 MPH sinker against right-handers, an 80 MPH change-up as a set-up pitch, and a slow fork that he only uses when he’s ahead of the count.

Here is a quick video look at Yoon working his way through a 14-strike-out performance, featuring a good amount of his pitches, including his devastating slider.

 

But herein lies the challenge. Yoon is a Scott Boras client, so he’s bound to be over-priced and half the reported interest is likely to be trumped up in order to raise his take-home. The Blue Jays, under Alex Anthopoulos, have not had a habit of working with Scott Boras. While the average annual value Yoon is looking for is thus far unknown, we do know that he’s only looking for two years worth of commitment, something the Blue Jays could feel quite comfortable gambling with.

So in a winter dominated with crickets and what-ifs, perhaps the chase of a walking enigma isn’t so far fetched after all. At the very least, I got through an entire post about the Blue Jays search for pitching without mentioning Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana.

Wait…damn.

Topics: Toronto Blue Jays

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  • bob l.

    he is someone i would prefer over santana or jimenez. of course money will be the final factor. santana never was a pitcher that i dreaded when the jays faced him and jimenez just looks like an injury waiting to happen. i say yoon or “stand pat” and go with mcgowan, drabek or hutch and bring stroman, sanchez and nolin aboard when they are truly ready.

    • brad

      The trouble with standing pat is that while you are trying to figure out which of Drabek, Hutchison, Stroman, Rogers, Redmond. McGowan etc is good, you lose games. You have 5 guys that have about a 20% chance to be successful right out of the gate(likely one of them will be successful) and it will likely take 3+ regular season starts to start getting a sense of whether u picked the right guy out of spring training. If you pick right, you’re golden but if not you could have a pretty rough couple of months. If you sign a guy like Santana or Jiminez(while I totally agree with your analysis of their downsides), you know that you are pretty much guaranteed to get pretty good production out of them…. while simultaneously allowing your guys coming back from injury and your young guns time in the minors. They don’t need an ace, just a guy that can give them 180+(preferably 200+) good innings.

      • bob l.

        can’t argue with anything you said. solid points. i’m just afraid that the budget will get too high then as fans we’re stuck watching has beens for a few years. i just really like what st louis was able to do with their young pitchers last year and i’d like to see the jays head down that same road.obviously mcgowan is not young, but i’m just a huge fan of his.

        • brad

          quite reasonable. I just don’t think they have the guns for this season. I would like to see a guy signed for maybe 3 years. By then hopefully Sanchez and Stroman are established MLB guys

  • brad

    From that video, his changeup looks like a plus plus pitch… slider doesn’t look too intimidating though and the fastball doesn’t either. I think he could be a good pickup IN ADDITION to Santana or Jiminez but not instead of…. big risk but potential to be a reliable mid rotation guy

  • RyanMueller

    I am very leery when it comes to signing Japanese/Korean pitchers because the umpires in Japan have larger strike zones. This was one of the main reasons to why Matsuzaka’s pitch count and BB were so high. Not sure if that is the same in Korea but it is something that should be considered when signing Yoon. With that said, I like him if you can get him for 2-3 years and for cheap. There haven’t been too many Korean pitchers that have come to North America and made an impact. If Yoon was as good as Ryu (the one with LA not the one came over in 2002) than there would have been some hype about him, and there wasn’t.