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.