If the Baltimore Orioles are going to clinch a playoff spot in 2014, they are going to need a stronger performance from their pitchers than they received last year.
In 2013, the Orioles ranked 23rd in the MLB in ERA and 26th in K/9. To bolster their rotation, they recently signed two starters in Ubaldo Jimenez and Suk Min Yoon. While Yoon is not a high-profile pitcher like Jimenez, he provides the Orioles with much needed depth.
For a team that needs pitching, Yoon is a solid gamble. He was one of the top pitchers in the Korean Baseball Organization, and has the potential to succeed in the major leagues. Yoon features a fastball that reaches the low 90′s, and he has an above average change-up. While he lacks top of the rotation upside, he profiles either as a back of the rotation starter or a relief pitcher.
If he develops into a solid back-end starter, his contract will be an absolute steal. In a market where back of the rotation starters like Scott Feldman and Jason Vargas are signing for around $30 million, a three-year, $5.5 million contract for Yoon is an excellent value. Even if he winds up as a relief pitcher, his contract is still inexpensive. The majority of quality relief pitchers this offseason have signed for a higher amount than Yoon.
Yoon is not a game changer for the Orioles, but he could be a nice complementary piece to their possible playoff run. While there is a chance that Yoon could struggled adjusting to the majors, virtually every free agent starter this offseason also carries significant risk. However, the risk with Yoon’s is mitigated due to his low salary.