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.

119 Responses to Orioles Sign Suk-Min Yoon Leave a Reply

  1. Rabbitov 1 year ago

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

    • cubs7691 1 year ago

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

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

      • Harrison 1 year 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 ago

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

  2. Harrison 1 year ago

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

    • pastlives 1 year ago

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

      • Harrison 1 year ago

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

        • Rabbitov 1 year ago

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

      • Rabbitov 1 year ago

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

        • pastlives 1 year ago

          the several scouting reports?

          • Rabbitov 1 year ago

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

          • pastlives 1 year ago

            it’s not that hard

          • Rabbitov 1 year ago

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

          • pastlives 1 year ago

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

        • Riaaaaaa 1 year 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 ago

            Shoulder injuries always seem to be worse than elbow injuries.

          • Rabbitov 1 year ago

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

          • GOOREOS 1 year 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 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 ago

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

          • Harrison 1 year ago

            Nope. Merely pointing out a fact.

      • Harrison 1 year ago

        How’s that crow taste??? 😉

        • pastlives 1 year ago

          lol my comment really stuck with you eh?

          • Harrison 1 year 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 ago

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

          • Harrison 1 year 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 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 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.

  3. UmpireBob 1 year ago

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

  4. Stan 1 year 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 ago

      im not in it for votes

    • cubs7691 1 year ago

      I salute you sir for posting.

    • Rabbitov 1 year ago

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

      • Lefty_Orioles_Fan 1 year 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 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 1 year ago

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

  5. Stan 1 year ago

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

  6. pastlives 1 year ago

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

  7. Quikmix 1 year 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 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

  8. Cabro Epico 1 year ago

    Watch out AL East!

  9. not_brooks 1 year 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 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 1 year 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 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 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 ago

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

    • Guest 1 year ago

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

    • Harrison 1 year ago

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

    • Jeff in Cleveland 1 year ago

      Ryan Webb?

  10. corey 1 year ago

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

    • Bleed_Orange 1 year ago

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

  11. Fernando 1 year 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.

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

      • McTigers 1 year 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 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 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.

          • 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 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.

          • 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 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.

        • 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 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.

          • 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 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 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.

  12. The_Porcupine 1 year 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 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 1 year ago

      Wada, he’s with the Cubs now.

  13. bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

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

  14. FS54 1 year ago

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

    • Eric Droegemeier 1 year ago

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

    • jay Dodgers 1 year ago

      Mad yankees fans. Fire in the hole.

    • Riaaaaaa 1 year 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 ago

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

      • Bleed_Orange 1 year 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.

  15. jay Dodgers 1 year 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 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 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 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 ago

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

          • burnboll 1 year ago

            Is there any Chinese baseball league?

          • orangeoctober 1 year ago

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

      • Cereal 1 year 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 ago

        agreed. yoon does not have the upside of tanaka.

      • jay Dodgers 1 year ago

        Yoon is not tanaka. Tanaka is not kershaw.

  16. malkusm 1 year 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!

  17. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Tim 1 year ago

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

  20. brian310 1 year ago

    The”pending physical” part should be bolded and capitalized

  21. Aramis Ramirez' Basement 1 year ago

    I would feel REALLY horrible for Baltimore fans if this actually somehow falls through. (still worse being a Cub fan)

  22. ColoredPaper 1 year ago

    All joked aside though, at least the Orioles have now become active again. After the mess they made with Balfour and Colvin, there’s some hope. He’ll definitely help that staff, especially when you consider those top pitching prospects they had from a few years back have not done so well.

    • Cereal 1 year ago

      Nobody is looking at Colvin, he truly is injured. We’ll see with Balfour

  23. FrankRoo 1 year ago

    For that much I don’t see why the Cubs didn’t go harder on him.

    • Rabbitov 1 year ago

      At its base, Cubs paid more for 1 year of Hammel than 3 years of Yoon.

  24. Shawn Baublitz 1 year ago

    Orioles need a 200 quality innings starter. Those don’t grow on trees. Or very often out of the Orioles draft.

    • Harrison 1 year ago

      That’s not really a fair statement about the Orioles drafting/developing at this point- Duquette completely over-hauled the scouting and development staffs upon his arrival after the 2011 season and, while too soon to be conclusively judged one way or the other, the early results look pretty promising.

  25. Blahable 1 year ago

    Orioles originally signed Koji as a starter, then turned into a awesome reliever. Maybe Yoon can have the same sort of luck if the starter thing doesn’t work.

    • burnboll 1 year ago

      You know Suk-mii Yong is from Korea and Koji uehara is fom japan, right?

      Two different countries, two different players.

      Would you make a comparison between Clayton kershaw and Joey Votto, since both are from North America?

      • Blahable 1 year ago

        I don’t really care where either of them are from. He must have some type of talent if he’s made this far. As I said, I just hope if it doesn’t work out for him as a starter, hopefully it will as an reliever.

      • Paul William Drew 1 year ago

        If they were both pitchers, or first basemen… yes? I think the point is that people were laughing at the Koji deal when it happened, too, saying he wouldn’t cut it as a starter in the MLB… which he didn’t but it still worked out pretty well for Baltimore. For the $ involved, this is a decent signing for the O’s whether he cuts it or not (and until I actually see him pitch against MLB hitters I have no idea and neither does anyone else here)

  26. Joe Orsatti 1 year ago

    Talk about a steal. I love this move for the O’s.

  27. MadmanTX 1 year ago

    Fairly inexpensive move for a back of the rotation starter–I wonder why the Rangers passed him up for Hanson? Even if they got Holland back and there had to be a move made, they could maybe have flipped somebody at the trade deadline.

    • Harrison 1 year ago

      I’m not really up to date on the goings-ons in Rangers universe, but I liked your post for no other reason than you have a Black Adam avatar and that’s awesome.

    • Charlie Burns 1 year ago

      Probably because even though Hanson is a risk, he is known to be a good starter if healthy and Yoon seems to project more as a reliever with his starting days kind of over. And since the Rangers are in a real need for a starter, there you go.

  28. orangeoctober 1 year ago

    great signing for the money. im happy to have him on the orioles. i think he could be a decent middle/end of the rotation starter or at least a good bullpen arm. hopefully he’s more chen and less wada.

  29. Guest 1 year ago

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

  30. pft2 1 year ago

    Orioles are big spenders, huh,

    Nice signing, little risk, nice upside. Good chance he is damaged goods with that shoulder though. Would not be surprised if he does not pass the physical, but he is cheap enough they may keep him anyways.

  31. Jack Ball 1 year ago

    I can’t believe this is real! Yoon is coming off a shoulder injury, doesn’t have dominate stuff and can’t be sent to the minors. This means the Orioles may have to give away perfectly useful pitchers just to keep him on the roster if he flops.

    • Harrison 1 year ago

      I’m a little surprised about the demotion protection clause myself, but it may very well have been the dealbreaker. Considering his upside, I think it’s a risk worth taking though. I’m just glad the deal got done.

  32. marcoL 1 year ago

    It sure O’s are small market team 5.75MM/3yrs is the best shot this winter. This guy can be a iwakuma at a price of rookie and he’s only 27(Iwakuma 33). Otherwise somebody would’ve paid 10x after 11′ or 12′ at his hype

  33. SierraM363 1 year ago

    I really wish Dan Duquette announced that he signed Yoon because he viewed him as a “solid potential number 3 starter”

  34. JordanMantor 1 year ago

    You seem to be forgetting that sitcoms are still the most popular programs on television.

  35. Harrison 1 year ago

    No, mine was neither boring nor played-out, and it was actually original and moderately funny.

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