Orioles Sign Suk-Min Yoon

The Orioles on Monday officially announced that they have signed South Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon to a three-year contract. Yoon's deal will reportedly guarantee him $5.575MM and also contains incentives and escalator provisions could significantly increase its total value to $13.075MM over that span. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette offered the following statement on the signing:

"We are excited to bring Suk-min Yoon to the organization. He has been a top pitcher in the Korea Baseball Organization and has pitched successfully in international competition. We look forward to his contributions to the Orioles."

The contract features a slightly backloaded and rather complicated structure. Yoon will receive a $675K signing bonus, then earn $750K for the coming season, $1.75MM in 2015, and $2.4MM in 2016. On top of that, Yoon can earn $1.25MM in incentives in 2014 based upon games started. Reaching that milestone would also bump his 2015 base by $1.25MM. The same mechanism allows Yoon to earn $1.25MM in incentives for 2015 and add as much as $2.5MM to his 2016 base salary (and, once more, earn a $1.25MM incentive payday in that final year of the deal). 

Notably, Yoon also receives other protection in the contract. He will be eligible to qualify for free agency after the deal is up, and the deal includes a mechanism to protect him from a minor league demotion.

Yoon is said to be "in good shape to pass" the physical, but the club is reportedly remaining quiet about the deal until he does. Obviously, Baltimore is hopeful of avoiding any bad press that might come from issues relating to the medical exam, given its heavily-scrutinized decisions to shelve deals with Grant Balfour and Tyler Colvin due to problems with their physicals. 

As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained in his detailed profile of Yoon before the off-season, the Korean hurler was widely regarded as the KBO's second-best pitcher after Hyun-jin Ryu, who went on to success with the Dodgers last year. But that does not necessarily mean he approaches Ryu's upside, as the stark differences in their contracts would suggest. (Ryu was promised $36MM, after Los Angeles bid over $25MM for negotiating rights. Unlike Ryu, Yoon was a free agent and did not require a posting or release fee.)

That is not to say that Yoon lacks appeal, of course. He had two outstanding seasons in the KBO as a starter, winning the league's MVP award in 2011. Though he is said not to have dominant stuff, Yoon is by all accounts a solid arm with the talent to add value in the bigs. The major issue with Yoon, Dierkes noted, was a shoulder injury that hampered his 2013 campaign. He battled through the injury, but split time between a starting and relief role and failed to match his prior production.

Though Dierkes put Yoon's value at two years and $10MM, he noted that prediction was based on very limited information. A recent report indicated that Yoon was seeing wide interest, but that apparently did not allow him to generate much of a bidding war.

From the Orioles' perspective, Yoon is set to receive the first MLB deal given by the club to a starter this off-season. (Of course, the team added Bud Norris via trade at last year's deadline, a fact which is often overlooked.) Indeed, Yoon would represent the largest free agent splash thus far for the O's, beating the two-year, $4.5MM guarantee made to reliever Ryan Webb

Given that his contract includes incentives based upon games started, it would seem he stands at least some chance to crack the rotation. The club's rotation figures to include Norris, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, and Miguel Gonzalez. Yoon could potentially battle with a range of other options — including Kevin Gausman, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, T.J. McFarland, and Alfredo Aceves — for the final slot.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported the signing. MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli (via Twitter) first reported its approximate value, and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter) first reported that it included incentive provisions. Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com reported the contract breakdown, details, and escalators. Special thanks to Cotillo for explaining the complicated structure of the incentive and escalator provisions.


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119 Comments on "Orioles Sign Suk-Min Yoon"


Rabbitov
1 year 5 months ago

I promise to down-vote every “pending physical” joke.

cubs7691
1 year 5 months ago

Don’t be that guy. You don’t want to be that guy

1 year 5 months ago

The only thing that is worse than an Orioles “pending physical” joke is a joke about Orioles “pending physical” jokes.

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

False. Nothing is worse at this point than a pending Orioles physical joke. They’re about as original as Saddam Hussein and Monica Lewinsky jokes.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Pending physical jokes are on the same level as “That’s what she said”. Love it or hate it.

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

*insert boring, unoriginal, unfunny, played-out joke about Orioles physical process here*

pastlives
1 year 5 months ago

it’s actually funnier that this is their idea of upgrading their rotation

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

And even funnier yet that you believe that you have any Earthly idea how this move will actually work out!

Rabbitov
1 year 5 months ago

Lol I think we are on the same wavelength right now.

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

It would appear so lol.

Rabbitov
1 year 5 months ago

What is your basis for Yoon’s ability in the ML?

pastlives
1 year 5 months ago

the several scouting reports?

Rabbitov
1 year 5 months ago

Well, I didn’t realize you read “several” scouting reports, my bad.

pastlives
1 year 5 months ago

it’s not that hard

Rabbitov
1 year 5 months ago

Its def not hard to read an online scouting report about a player you’ve never seen play.

pastlives
1 year 5 months ago

yes i agree, i’m not sure what this has to do with anything

Riaaaaaa
1 year 5 months ago

Many people have said Yoon is likely to be a reliever due to the shoulder issues he has had. Which is why he was moved from the rotation to the pen in Korea.

cubs7691
1 year 5 months ago

Shoulder injuries always seem to be worse than elbow injuries.

Rabbitov
1 year 5 months ago

Its for sure possible, they will try to stretch him out as a starter and see what happens.

GOOREOS
1 year 5 months ago

He is a middle reliever at worst… with potential to be a back of the rotation starter if he regains his 2011 form coming back from the injury. For less than 2 million per year I’d say it’s a pretty good deal.

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

And even funnier yet that you’re assuming that he’s bound for the rotation. You know what they say about assuming things…

pastlives
1 year 5 months ago

so you’re hoping he ends up in the bullpen to prove me wrong or something? looooool

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

Nope. Merely pointing out a fact.

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

How’s that crow taste??? 😉

pastlives
1 year 5 months ago

lol my comment really stuck with you eh?

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

Nah, someone responded to another comment of mine on this thread earlier today and I happened to pass by. Seemed apropos to point it out though.

pastlives
1 year 5 months ago

Good for the orioles, a nice pitcher at a nice price, we’ll see if it works out

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

Oddly enough, I’m not a big fan of the move lol. If they were going to burn the pick, I probably would have preferred Ervin Santana.

pastlives
1 year 5 months ago

haha interesting, because I’m a Jays fan and want nothing to do with Santana, I admit this stung a bit, I was hoping for Ubaldo

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

For me, it comes down to IP per start, and Santana wins hands down. Jimenez has only averaged ~5 2/3 per start over the last 3 years. The O’s need someone to eat innings and I’m not sure Ubaldo’s that guy.

UmpireBob
1 year 5 months ago

What do you think SP or RP? Is the Os pursuit of FA talent over? Any guess on years or money?

Stan
1 year 5 months ago

suk-min yoon offered contract by the orioles pending a physical… vegas oddsmakers taking bets if he plays with the orioles or not 3-1

Stan
1 year 5 months ago

im not in it for votes

cubs7691
1 year 5 months ago

I salute you sir for posting.

Stan
1 year 5 months ago

thank you

Rabbitov
1 year 5 months ago

I gave you a down-vote out of obligation, but I secretly liked this post.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 5 months ago

As I type this Stan “The Man” has 7 likes 2 dislikes!
That right there is pretty darn close to his 3 to 1 odds that he gives Moon! Maybe, there will be a horse that wins the derby with the name Moon in it! Just like Orb last year

As for my take, finally some good news!
I am glad the O’s finally got something done!

Stan
1 year 5 months ago

just so you know i did post a serious type comment also saying i think he will be a decent 3 or 4… i’m not the type of guy to just post snarky stuff by itself.. just as an addition :)

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 5 months ago

Well, I had to give you a like if anything to continue the horse racing theme.

Stan
1 year 5 months ago

i think he’ll be a decent 3/4 in the majors

pastlives
1 year 5 months ago

Solid contract though, cheap enough that they should be able to go after Santana/Ubaldo still, but I doubt they do

Quikmix
1 year 5 months ago

honestly, at under 2M/yr, I’ve got to think this is a solid deal for the Orioles. Sure, Suk-Min Yoon isn’t going to set the baseball world on fire, but I can’t imagine that any team looking for a 4/5 starter would find this to be an unreasonable price for one.

MB923
1 year 5 months ago

Definitely. Certainly not a lot of $ for a guy who was getting some hype around the league. This is a steal for the Orioles

Cabro Epico
1 year 5 months ago

Watch out AL East!

not_brooks
1 year 5 months ago

First, solid signing. Now sign Jimenez or Santana and call it an offseason.

Second, I don’t see how the decision to pass on Colvin was “heavily-scrutinized”. The guy missed a third of last season due to back issues. The O’s told him he was welcome back on a minor league deal if he couldn’t find a major league deal elsewhere. Seems like he was OK with that.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 5 months ago

I would still like to sign Bello to add some catching depth to the organization. Need to start thinking of replacing Weiters

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 5 months ago

Wow, another Oriole type that mentioned Bello!
Duquette said he wanted to improve the back-up catcher.
I am under the impression that he could do that for us!

Damon Bowman
1 year 5 months ago

Notice how a number of teams are now unofficially starting their spring training camps and Colvin is still unsigned. Nobody in the national media wants to acknowledge that the O’s might have made a smart move with Colvin. If we were wrong, he’d be on his way to Florida or Arizona and getting a locker assignment. But since he isn’t, I’d like to tell Ken Rosenthal and his ilk to keep their mouths shut physicals and contracts if they’re not going to give everybody equal coverage. As it is, the Phillies just blew out Chad Gaudin over his physical after announcing his signing — he’s now the second guy who’s had physical problems with the Phillies.

Stan
1 year 5 months ago

i think the difference there is that for the orioles it was 2 players that they attempted to sign via free agency. for the phillies they released their own player (gaudin) for failing his and i will admit i do not know who the 2nd player is.
in reponse to the rosenthal comment… this is a rumor board not a cold hard fact board.

KJ4realz
1 year 5 months ago

MAG is the second… But they did sign him still.

Guest
1 year 5 months ago

The Phillies released Gaudin today after he flunked his physical. It happens.

Harrison
1 year 5 months ago

Second- the Ryan Webb deal is going to end up being a steal.

Jeff in Cleveland
1 year 5 months ago

Ryan Webb?

corey
1 year 5 months ago

is he going to be in mlb this year or work his way through minors?

Bleed_Orange
1 year 5 months ago

I would be shocked if he is not on the opening day ML roster

Fernando
1 year 5 months ago

This is an incredibly cheap deal with potential for good upside. No one should be upset about it. And I applaud the Orioles for having a tough physical process, that is their RIGHT to protect their investment on players. If you don’t like it, it’s because it’s not your money.

1 year 5 months ago

People don’t like it because it scares off other players and gives the Orioles a bad reputation.

C. McCarthy
1 year 5 months ago

Exactly. I don’t know how long the O’s think they can keep doing this before FA’s refuse to even talk to them anymore, viewing negotiations as a waste of their time.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 5 months ago

Agents would be foolish not to talk to the Os, you go with the money hence why the Marlins are still able to sign players. If agents were smart any agent would keep the reported agreement hush hush until a physical is performed. So if there are issues its not national media which drags down your players price.

Mitch Augustyn
1 year 5 months ago

Thing is the orioles do not build their teams out of free agents. They do not have to like the Yankees have to because they have no minor league system or have the patience to wait for a player. Do you think they would ever have let a player like Adam Jones or Matt Wieters play and learn on the job? Gausman and Bundy will be in the rotation soon enough.

1 year 5 months ago

Yankees are an extreme example. Most successful playoff teams build from within and sign free agents.

Wieters is also a bad example since he was a high profile prospect at a position where he’d be given more time. I’d say they’d give him time but not Jones.

Mitch Augustyn
1 year 5 months ago

Last time the Yankees gave a player a chance from the minor leagues was Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano. Wieters is not bad example. He put in his time in the minor leagues before being given the catchers position. Yankees way of solving problems is by buying other teams proven (more often than not players whose best years are behind them). With the Yankees it is more about filling those $500 seats and selling Yankee jerseys. They need name recognition. There are no Jason Kipnis on the Yankees. The Yankees chance of having another Jeter, Pettitte or Mariano Rivera is slight since they cannot afford players to learn and grow. Thats the Catch 22 of the way the Yankees are now built.
Most successful playoff teams make smart trades and bring along top prospects through the minors and occasionally bring in a free agent or two.

1 year 5 months ago

Wieters is a bad example because the Yankees would’ve given him a chance. Top catching prospects are given more chances than almost any other position.

Fernando
1 year 5 months ago

What evidence do you have of that? Obviously this didn’t scare off Suk Min Yoon… as he, um, just signed wtih the O’s.

1 year 5 months ago

It’s been in reports on this website for weeks now. Agents and executives have said it.

The failed physical cost Balfour 3 million dollars with little to no evidence that he was actually an injury risk. If you’re a player, would you be cautious of signing with a team that did that to two players in one offseason?

Fernando
1 year 5 months ago

I went back and looked at articles on this site talking about the Orioles. While there are a lot of reporters speculating about it, you are right for at least one case – it does appear that Arroyo in part picked AZ over Baltimore due to this issue, though there were other factors as well.

I appreciate what you say regarding this. But I still think it is to their advantage to have a stringent physical. I think the actual answer lies somewhere in between, though – in other words, they may need to make the physical a bit less strict because what they are doing may be scaring away players. However, it is still important to give a thorough evaluation to players who sign up. A middle ground is definitely needed.

1 year 5 months ago

It hasn’t even been two months since the deal fell apart and there’s already been one case of a player citing that as a reason that he didn’t sign there. That could turn into a big problem down the road.

The Orioles’ reputation has been damaged by the failed physicals. Given that they don’t like to spend on the FA market anyway, that hurts them even more. They want to find bargains, but so do other teams. Players who receive similar offers from other teams are now more likely to pick the other team.

OhthePossibilities
1 year 5 months ago

The player didn’t cite that. A beat writer “heard” that was part of it. Arroyo also supposedly said he preferred to stay in the NL.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 5 months ago

I think that is a very short sighted assumption. Money makes memory short and after the O’s sign another player or 2 I don’t think anyone will be talking about the failed physicals. I think the only reason it became as big of a deal as it has become is because Balfore’s old doctors spoke when they professionally and ethically probably should have kept quiet.

The_Porcupine
1 year 5 months ago

Same kind of move that brought Chen and that other guy who promptly had Tommy john after signing. Same pitcher profile if I remember correctly, more of a back of the rotation arm, unsure whether rotation or bullpen is better role. I could see him having some moderate success, but nothing to right home about. I also don’t see him giving the innings you need however.

Paul William Drew
1 year 5 months ago

another Orioles signing of an Asian player most thought destined for the bullpen but the Orioles gave him a chance at starting, didn’t work out and moved to pen, then traded for Chris Davis & Tommy Hunter: Koji Uehara. O’s do still need another veteran starter, though.

Cereal_22
1 year 5 months ago

Wada, he’s with the Cubs now.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 5 months ago

Is it worth publishing this… knowing that the “Orioles physical” is pending?

FS54
1 year 5 months ago

It would be hilarious if he somehow outperforms Tanaka this season.

Eric Droegemeier
1 year 5 months ago

If he does, it will be subtly, something Yankees fans get angry at if you suggest it.

jay Dodgers
1 year 5 months ago

Mad yankees fans. Fire in the hole.

Riaaaaaa
1 year 5 months ago

Seeing how Yoon is expected to be a reliever, I dont see how you can compare these two pitchers…other than the fact that they are both coming from different countries? That’s like me saying, “It’d be hilarious if Tazawa somehow outperforms Yu Darvish”

FS54
1 year 5 months ago

that’s why there are games started based incentives in his contract.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 5 months ago

I think the comparison is more they are unknown players who are getting guaranteed Major League contracts. The same comparison could be made with a Japanese player and a Cuban players. These overseas leagues would be like AAAA in the US better than AAA but not as good as the majors. In the majors there have been plenty of AAA studs that have done nothing.

jay Dodgers
1 year 5 months ago

Just think how much yankees paid to tanaka. 170M vs 5M. Wow. Jaw drop. punched my face myself. Korean players are so underrate…

Riaaaaaa
1 year 5 months ago

Yoon is not Tanaka. Japanese baseball is at a higher level than Korean baseball. Yes, yoon was at one point on of the top pitchers in Korea, but he has had shoulder issues and was moved to the bullpen last season. Also, his velocity has dropped down to the high 80’s. I wouldnt expect him to be a TOR starter in MLB.

jay Dodgers
1 year 5 months ago

Do you really think japanese baseball is higher level.?? I don’t think so.10 plus years ago. Yes. But not any more. Yoon arm has been fixed up. Nothing wrong. You will see 5M 3years is so cheapo. Compare to 170M. Crazy yankees does crazy things. Davish is, was the best in their league.

Riaaaaaa
1 year 5 months ago

I struggled understanding what you are trying to say, but I will do my best to respond to whatever it was you just typed. Japanese baseball is at a higher level than Korean baseball. They are more of a AAA and Korea is more AA . Yoon arm has been fixed up? I’m guessing you did not read the article because it stated that Yoon has never been the same pitcher after his injury. Yea 5 million is a good price for a reliever but there is a reason he never had the same hype as Tanaka. Tanaka is projected to be a 2/3 starter in MLB and I have yet to see any article claiming the same for Yoon. This is mainly, in part, due to his injury. Not to mention the fact that Tanaka was dominant in Japan and while Yoon was great in Korea, he was not on the same level as Ryu. Yes the Yankees did overpay for Tanaka, but the upside for him is far greater than Yoon’s.

orangeoctober
1 year 5 months ago

yeah, people often refer to japanese league as AAAA since its above AAA in competition but below MLB

burnboll
1 year 5 months ago

Is there any Chinese baseball league?

orangeoctober
1 year 5 months ago

yeah its actually called the china baseball league as a matter of fact haha. only been around since 2002 apparently.

Cereal_22
1 year 5 months ago

I’m certain Japan is better however Korea is basically unknown. This a feeling out period between MLB & Korea. Ryu was awesome last year.

orangeoctober
1 year 5 months ago

agreed. yoon does not have the upside of tanaka.

jay Dodgers
1 year 5 months ago

Yoon is not tanaka. Tanaka is not kershaw.

malkusm
1 year 5 months ago

Duquette said that he expects the Opening Day payroll to crack $100M. So now he only needs to sign like 10 more of these guys!

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

For 3/5.575 he’ll pass the physical, its not like that contract is going to sink the O’s even if he never pitches and if he becomes even a serviceable 5th starter its a steal for the O’s. Too much potential upside for the O’s to fail him on his physical. That being said I think there must be serious concerns about the health of his shoulder if this is the best deal he could get.

1 year 5 months ago

What makes Yoon injury issues more of a concern? He also had arm issues a couple years back. This is already at least his second time with these issues. Could be a “high” upside, but I see a reliever in the making. Which isn’t a bad thing, but now you ask how good he’ll be as a reliever.

Tim
1 year 5 months ago

This signing looks infinitely better than keeping Scott Feldman for the 3yrs / $30M that he got from the Astros.

brian310
1 year 5 months ago

The”pending physical” part should be bolded and capitalized