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Suk-Min Yoon Rumors
TUESDAY, 5:38pm: The Cubs joined the Rangers in watching Yoon throw 30 pitches today, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com (via Twitter). He will hold similar, short bullpen sessions for other clubs in the next few days, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Yoon's health remains the major issue for clubs considering Yoon's request for multiple years, Sullivan adds. The South Korean is not close to signing, says Sullivan, contrary to statements made yesterday by agent Scott Boras.
MONDAY, 11:30pm: The Rangers will watch Yoon throw a bullpen session on Tuesday in Arizona, reports Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (hat tip to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO, via Twitter).
7:30pm: The Orioles are one of several clubs to have made an offer to Yoon, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
(In case you missed the intervening update, Yoon's agent, Scott Boras, said that six or seven teams were still interested in the South Korean.)
11:41am: As many as five teams are still showing interest in Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon, according to Sang-Soo Kwon of Korean news outlet JoongAng Daily (hat tip: MyKBO.net's Dan Kurtz). According to Kwon, the Orioles are the front-runners to sign Yoon at this point, but the Rangers, Cubs, Twins and Giants have interest as well. The Orioles and Giants reportedly attended a workout held by Yoon at the UC-Irvine campus over the weekend.
The Rangers' interest is a new wrinkle in the Yoon saga, but Kwon cites an official from the Boras Coporation (which represents Yoon) in saying that Texas has scouted Yoon for more than two years. Interest on the Rangers' side picked up after Derek Holland's injury, the official said.
Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (on Twitter) that Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette wouldn't confirm the team's interest in Yoon when asked on Saturday, but he also didn't deny any of the reports. The Orioles have added a pair of notable Asian players in recent years, inking Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen to multi-year deals. Kwon also points out Duquette's history of Korean additions from his days as GM of the Red Sox; Boston inked lefty Sang-Hoon Lee, right-hander Sun-woo Kim, right-hander Seung-Joon Song, and infielder Tae-in Chae.
Yoon, 27, was considered Korea's second-best starting pitcher behind Hyun-jin Ryu following the 2012 season. A shoulder injury in 2013 prompted a move the the closer's role with the Kia TIgers last season, but from 2011-12 Yoon posted a 2.77 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 325 1/3 innings as a starter. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted in Yoon's free agent profile, his fastball sits in the 91 to 93 mph range, and he won the KBO's MVP Award in 2011 for his outstanding work in the Kia Tigers' rotation.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
A series of significant, albeit not top-shelf, free agents could soon be coming off the board, according to a report from Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Agent Scott Boras tells Morosi that he is "very close" to inking contracts for four of his clients: Oliver Perez, Jeff Baker, Francisco Rodriguez, and Suk-min Yoon.
Each of these names could represent an interesting opportunity to obtain a significant impact for a relatively limited investment. Rumors have been picking up steam of late on both Baker and Yoon. Baker, a 32-year-old lefty masher, has been said to be nearing a deal and could prove an important bench piece. The South Korean Yoon, meanwhile, has reportedly drawn a good bit of interest; Boras says that six or seven clubs are still involved. While he may not offer massive upside in the sense of becoming a dominating MLB pitcher, Yoon could end up delivering good value if he can stick at the back of a rotation, especially given his young age (27).
Then, there are the two enigmatic relivers: Perez and Rodriguez. Their long MLB tenures (each tasted the bigs at age 20) leave one surprised to learn of their relative youth (both are just 32). Despite flashes of brilliance as a starter, Perez utimately had to reinvent himself as a reliever. And after a stretch as one of the most dominating late-inning men in the game, Rodriguez was forced to settle for a minor league deal last season. Yet the numbers show that both offer very real upside. In the last two seasons, the southpaw Perez has thrown 82 2/3 innings of 3.16 ERA ball (with 10.7 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9). And Rodriguez registered a 2.70 ERA last year in 46 2/3 innings while striking out 10.4 per nine and walking a career-low 2.7 per nine.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today; so, according to legend, there will be six more weeks of winter. But, for baseball fans, spring does begin early this year when pitchers and catchers for the Diamondbacks (February 6) and Dodgers (February 8) report one week earlier than the other 28 MLB teams because of their season-opening series in Australia. Here's today's news and notes from the National League:
- Marlins President David Samson told reporters, including MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, the team is still looking to add some depth. "Certainly, you're looking at some potential non-roster invites," said Samson. "We're looking to bring people in to compete, because you just don't know. What we've learned over the years is you have injuries. The more depth you can have going into a camp, the better it is." The Marlins have invited 26 non-roster players to camp and Frisaro notes another reliever or two could be added to that total.
- The Reds have had a lackluster offseason, but still have a good strong core of starting pitching and position players to be very competitive in the NL Central, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com in a readers inbox column.
- Within the same article, Sheldon shot down any notion the Reds would have interest in Ichiro Suzuki citing his age, salary, and defensive limitations.
- Suk-Min Yoon held a workout on the campus of UC-Irvine Friday attended by the Giants and Orioles, per a report from SBS (h/t Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). Earlier this week, it was reported four clubs had extended offers to the Korean right-hander with negotiations underway with two of those teams. The Twins, Red Sox, and Indians have been linked to Yoon this offseason with varying degrees of interest.
After nine seasons with the Tigers, Kirk Gibson left Detroit for free agency, signing a three-year, $4.5MM deal with the Dodgers on this day 26 years ago. The Dodgers immediately got a return on their investment as Gibson won the 1988 NL MVP Award (hitting .290/.377/.483 with 25 homers and 106 runs) as he and Orel Hershiser led Los Angeles to the pennant. Knee and hamstring injuries left Gibson questionable for the World Series, however, and Gibson made just one plate appearance in the 1988 Fall Classic…but it was certainly a big one. Ironically, Gibson is today firmly aligned against the Dodgers in his current role as the Diamondbacks' manager.
Here are some items from around baseball…
- Scott Boras, Suk-min Yoon's agent, said that "many teams," including the Red Sox, were interested in his client, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (Twitter link). The Sox were linked to Yoon earlier this month though it's unknown if Boston is one of the four clubs who have made contract offers to the Korean righty. Boras said that "we'll know more in 10 days," which would seemingly give credence to rumors that Yoon will soon sign with a team.
- The Orioles were rumored to be considering a contract extenson for J.J. Hardy this winter, though there has been a lack of movement on this front. CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff wonders if the O's are waiting for Stephen Drew's free agent situation to be resolved since the two shortstops have comparable career numbers. Hardy is scheduled for free agency next winter and his long-term future in Baltimore is in some question given that shortstop is Manny Machado's natural position.
- A source with direct knowledge of Bronson Arroyo's negotiations tells MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo (Twitter link) to "don't believe everything you read" in regards to Arroyo's claim that he hasn't received a firm contract offer this winter.
- Vernon Wells is guaranteed $21MM for the 2014 season after being released by the Yankees, and since Wells lives in a state (Texas) with no income tax, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal notes that Wells could actually end up losing money if he plays for another team this season. Of course, losing a little more than $1MM in taxes may not be a major concern for Wells (who has banked over $110MM for his career, according to Baseball Reference) if he wants to continue his career.
- For the first time, MLB teams could sign more free agents to multiyear contracts than one-year deals, Fangraphs' Dave Cameron writes. With more money (particularly from TV deals) coming into the game, Cameron theorizes that teams are more willing to make longer commitments to players.
Here's the latest from around the AL Central…
- Victor Martinez wants to remain with the Tigers beyond this season, the veteran slugger told reporters (including Tom Gage of the Detroit News), though he realizes the club may have other payroll priorities to be addressed, such as new deals for Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera. Martinez, who turned 35 last month, is entering the final year of his four-year, $50MM deal with the Tigers. After missing all of 2012 with a torn ACL, Martinez returned to hit .301/.355/.430 with 14 home runs in 668 PA in 2013.
- The Indians looked at Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon earlier this offseason but weren't willing to meet Yoon's price, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports (Twitter link). Yoon has reportedly received offers from four MLB teams and he is in talking to two of them. The Twins have long been linked to Yoon and they continue to "monitor" him, though there haven't been any meetings between the two sides.
- The Royals' wealth of upcoming minor league talent is cited by Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan as a counter to the oft-stated belief that the club's only "window of contention" is only open for as long as James Shields is in Kansas City. Shields is entering his last year under contract and since it is believed the Royals won't be able to afford him, the team has been criticized for acquiring Shields in the deal that sent Wil Myers and others to Tampa Bay.
- In AL Central news from earlier today, the Twins signed righty Matt Guerrier to a minor league deal and the Royals both acquired outfielder Carlos Peguero from the Mariners for cash and designated southpaw Everett Teaford for assignment.
MLB.com's Jim Callis has an interesting breakdown of the dollars committed to the game's top prospects. Over $228MM has already been committed by teams to the prospects listed among MLB.com's top 100. Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Keith Law has released his own prospect rankings (Insider links), naming the Astros' system as the game's best and tabbing Byron Buxton of the Twins as the best overall prospect. In his own top 101 prospects list, Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus agrees with Buxton as the top choice, which certainly appears to be the consensus. And Baseball America has completed its listing of the ten best prospects by team.
Here are some more links from around the game:
- The Twins are keeping tabs on free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, but are a long shot to land him. Minnesota is probably only interested if Cruz drops his price fairly significantly, Wolfson adds, guessing that the club would probably only be involved at two years with an average annual value at or below the $10MM mark.
- Likewise, the Twins are waiting for the price to fall on South Korean hurler Suk-min Yoon, Wolfson reports (Twitter links). When Wolfson floated the number of two years and $10MM total to his source, he was told that cost was likely too steep for Minnesota.
- Free agent reliever Ryan Madson plans to hold a full public workout on February 7th, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The 33-year-old threw yesterday for an unknown club that is reportedly a leading candidate to land him, Crasnick adds.
- Starter Scott Baker chose the Mariners over offers from the Indians, Rangers, and Royals, reports Wolfson (via Twitter). The Twins never had interest in a reunion, Wolfson adds.
- Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers were discussing a deal in the range of $200MM to $205MM over the summer, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. By waiting until he wrapped up a Cy Young campaign, Kershaw was able to secure a deal with a $215MM guarantee.
WEDNESDAY: The Twins aren't inclined to meet agent Scott Boras' asking price at this time, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.
TUESDAY, 10:05pm: Yoon has yet to meet with Twins officials and has not visited Minnesota, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (Twitter links). That does not mean that the club is out on Yoon, says Berardino, who was told by a source that the Twins are "monitor[ing]" things at present.
5:16pm: South Korean hurler Suk-min Yoon is engaged in talks and could sign soon, according to a Naver Sports article (Korean language link, via a tweet from Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). The 27-year-old righty has reportedly fielded four offers from MLB clubs, and is in discussions with two of the offering teams.
Yoon landed at 36th on MLBTR's Tim Dierkes's list of the top fifty free agents. Though he is said to offer substantially less upside than fellow Korean Hyun-jin Ryu of the Dodgers, Yoon is said to be the next-best arm to come out of the KBO. As Dierkes explained in his profile of Yoon, the hurler has experience both as a starter and as a reliever.
The most recent reports indicated that the Red Sox and Twins both have interest in Yoon, who is not controlled by any KBO club and is therefore a free agent. While Yoon's value remains difficult to assess, Dierkes gave his best guess as a two-year, $10MM deal.
10:40am: Major League Baseball has taken the procedural step of requesting a status check on Yoon from the Korea Baseball Organization, according to a Yonhap News report (hat tip to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). The KBO confirmed that Yoon is indeed a free agent and able to sign anywhere.
TODAY, 9:05am: Yoon is traveling to the United States on Wednesday in hopes of securing a contract, according to a report from Korean news outlet Arirang (video link).
JAN. 10: The Red Sox and Twins are both interested in Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon, tweets Peter Gammons of the MLB Network and GammonsDaily.com. Gammons also spoke with one executive who guessed that the Giants are a good fit for Yoon as well. In an article at GammonsDaily.com earlier this week, Gammons noted that Yoon is one of many depth options still on the radar for the Red Sox. Cuban right-hander Raicel Iglesias is also among their potential targets.
It's been quiet on the Yoon front this offseason, as agent Scott Boras has had his hands full in negotiating contracts for Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Pelfrey while also trying to build the markets for Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted in his free agent profile of Yoon, the 27-year-old has a low-90s fastball and was considered the second-best pitcher in the Korea Baseball Organization behind Hyun-jin Ryu prior to Ryu's jump to MLB. He has experience as both a starter and a closer.
The Twins have been connected to Yoon multiple times this offseason, but it's unclear whether or not they'd still have significant interest after adding Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes and re-signing Pelfrey. He could slot into Minnesota's bullpen, but the relief corps was one of the few strengths for last season's 96-loss Twins team.
MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports that the Royals were voted by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) to have the best medical staff in Major League Baseball. Said general manager Dayton Moore: "We're extremely proud of [head athletic trainer] Nick Kenney and our medical team. They are very gifted people, who are very skilled at what they do. … This is a terrific honor for our entire organization." Elsewhere in the American League Central division…
- Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN spoke with a Twins official (Twitter link) and asked if Mark Reynolds was a realistic option for the team. Wolfson's source told him that Reynolds is realistic if the Twins decide they want him, but there's currently no consensus among Twins brass on "marginal players."
- The Twins have maintained a dialogue with Bronson Arroyo's agent even after re-signing Mike Pelfrey and inking right-handers Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, Wolfson tweeted yesterday. Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon also remains on their radar, but he's a lower priority, a team source told Wolfson.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer doesn't think that the Indians are done adding third base depth despite the presence of Lonnie Chisenhall and the offseason addition of David Adams. Hoynes reminds that the Indians were linked to Kevin Youkilis and has already been linked to Wilson Betemit.
The Mariners will interview Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach for their open managerial job, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. Wallach joins Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Athletics bench coach Chip Hale and Padres bench coach Rick Renteria as Mariners candidates, and Heyman notes that there may be others. Wallach has also interviewed for the Tigers' managerial job. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- The Twins remain keenly interested in Korean pitcher Suk-Min Yoon, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. "We've watched him forever," says Twins vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff. Yoon has battled shoulder issues in 2013, and if the Twins agreed to sign him, they would, of course, want him to take a physical. They would also be much more interested in him as a starter than as a reliever — Yoon made 13 starts in 2013, but also appeared 17 times out of the bullpen.
- The White Sox have signed Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu, but that doesn't mean Paul Konerko won't return, MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports. "This signing does not preclude us from bringing Paul back," says GM Rick Hahn. "It's October 29. You don't evaluate an Opening Day roster at the end of October." The White Sox plan to talk to Konerko next month.
- The White Sox's signing of Abreu will likely be their only major free agent signing, Merkin writes. "We're not going to rule out any avenue," says Hahn. Nonethleless, he says, "It's probably more likely that trades are next." If the White Sox do re-sign Konerko, they could deal either Adam Dunn or Jeff Keppinger to make room for him, Merkin says. It's unlikely, however, that either player would generate much trade interest unless the White Sox took on plenty of salary.