A report indicates that Korean right-handed pitcher has five potential suitors at this point in time, and the Baltimore Orioles appear to lead the pack.
In a bid to drum up interest, Yoon had a pitching tryout with two Major League Baseball teams – the Orioles and the San Francisco Giants – on Saturday at a university campus in California. An official of the Boras Corporation, which represents Yoon, confirmed to Korean media on Sunday that Yoon threw about 30 pitches in front of scouts from the two teams.
Durability is a major concern for those teams interested in Yoon, who has missed time in recent years with an Achilles injury, as well as shoulder issues. MLBTR did a feature on the 27-year-old back in October, predicting a two-year, $10 million deal would be enough to land his services in 2014.
Yoon has a fastball that sits in the low 90s, sometimes reaching as high as 93 mph, as well as a solid changeup. In Korea, he is known more as a pitcher rather than an overpowering arm. Whether or not he can continue to develop other pitches to compliment his two primary ones remains to be seen and could very well determine how successful he is in Major League Baseball.
One of the biggest draws for interested clubs, which include the aforementioned Orioles, as well as Texas, San Francisco, Minnesota and the Chicago Cubs, is the fact that he is an international free agent, meaning no draft pick compensation will be tied to his signing, something that separates him from some of the notable free agent arms still available, including Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.
The Rangers’ interest reportedly increased following the injury to Derek Holland, who could miss as much as half of the 2014 campaign with a knee injury. Yoon’s best professional season came back in 2011, when he approached the 20-win plateau, going 17-5 with a 2.45 earned run average and 178 strikeouts. He has just four full seasons as a starter under his belt, which came in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012.
MLBTR talked about his injury to his shoulder last season, saying that the injury “seemed serious,” according to sources. This may help explain big league teams’ reluctance to offer him a guaranteed contract.