The San Francisco Giants reportedly have interest in adding South Korean native Suk-Min Yoon to their bullpen, but it’s highly unlikely for general manager Brian Sabean to submit an offer.
The Giants would have a distinct advantage over most MLB clubs interested in acquiring Yoon, specifically because they’ve already done business with the KIA Tigers. San Francisco sent quad-A first baseman Brett Pill to the Tigers in exchange for cash earlier this offseason.
San Francisco’s front office brass remains reluctant to pursue additional roster upgrades before the season starts. Yoon would be a solid addition to the back end of the Giants’ bullpen, though. He would supply the Giants with added depth and stability, giving manager Bruce Bochy more flexibility in making late-inning decisions.
Yoon adopted a closer role in 2013 after suffering a shoulder injury. He was reportedly the Tigers’ second-best starting pitcher behind Hyun-jin Ryu before the injury, according to Jeff Todd and Steve Adams of MLBTradeRumors.com. Yoon doesn’t showcase an overpowering arm. His fastball ranges from 91 to 93 mph, but his stuff features nasty movement.
Yoon split time as a starter and reliever last season, posting a 3.60 ERA with 23 strikeouts and seven saves in 19 games out of the bullpen. His numbers as a starter were less impressive as he struggled to immediately overcome serious shoulder problems. Yoon’s injury was mostly kept under wraps, according to South Korean sources close to the situation (via MLBTradeRumors.com), which could ultimately drop his asking price.
The Giants wouldn’t be forced to forfeit a draft pick if they were to acquire Yoon because he’s classified as an international free agent, but they would have to negotiate with superstar agent Scott Boras. Yoon was one of the best pitchers in the Korea Baseball Organization in 2011, recording a 2.45 ERA with 178 strikeouts in 172.1 innings pitched en route to winning the MVP award.
According to George King III of the NY Post, Yoon’s talents are comparable to Kyle Lohse, who registered a 16-3 record with a sub-3.00 ERA in 2012. Yoon isn’t close to signing with a big league ball club, but he would effectively complement a solid core of relievers in the Giants’ bullpen. He’s recently thrown bullpen sessions for various team scouts and purportedly needs to showcase a healthy arm before convincing a ball club he’s worth signing.
The Giants were among the first teams interested in Yoon, possibly because of the potential post-injury value he offers. Yoon’s price tag is substantially less than it would have been if he was able to remain healthy in the KBO. Signing Yoon would be a risk, but it could pay dividends if he’s able to rekindle the type of success he enjoyed in 2011.