suk-min yoonWhile the bulk of the internationally-inclined focus is centered on Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka, whether he’ll be posted, and whether the Chicago Cubs will be seriously involved in the bidding (Jed Hoyer says they will be), there are other international free agents available for the plucking. Not only are there a handful of interesting Cuban defectors out there, but there’s also an interesting righty arm from Korea: 27-year-old Suk-Min Yoon, who is a true free agent.

The Cubs are reportedly in on him, and he could be signing soon.

We’ve discussed Yoon before, including the Cubs’ reported interest:

Yoon, who started his KBO career at 19, doesn’t have stats that scream stud conversation to the States, but they’re good. For his career, Yoon’s got a 3.19 ERA in the KBO, which is well below league average (the KBO tends to be a little more offensively-inclinded than the NBP (Japan) – for reference, a 3.19 ERA is likely to put you in the top ten in the league every year).

That said, Yoon is coming off the worst year of his career, posting a 4.00 ERA, with 28 BBs and 76 Ks in just 87.2 innings. He spent a fair bit of time in the bullpen this year, after long being a starter, reportedly because he volunteered to move to the pen to help his struggling team out.

It’s unlikely that Yoon will command a significant contract, though his age and past success at least make him an intriguing target. For comparison’s sake, Yoon is a couple years older than Hyun-Jin Ryu, who came over from the KBO to the Dodgers this year and pitched extremely well. Ryu had a better career ERA (2.80), threw far more innings, struck out more per inning, walked fewer per inning, and was generally regarded as a harder-throwing pitcher with better stuff.

At the time of that report, Arirang News in Korea suggested that the Cubs were the favorite to sign Yoon. Now, an Arirang report says Yoon could sign soon, and is drawing interest from six unnamed teams. The report names the Twins as the frontrunner, but says the two sides have not been able to come together on a deal. Scott Boras represents Yoon.

In its previous report, Arirang specifically named the Cubs and Minnesota Twins as in on Yoon. Although there are obviously other interested teams, it’s fair to wonder if the Cubs and Twins were still leading the pack, as of this weekend. If they were, you have to ask: do the Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes signings take the Twins out of the running for Yoon? Is the reason the Twins and Yoon were unable to come to a deal because the Twins were preferring to first see if they could land stateside targets like Nolasco and Huges? If so, are the Cubs now the clear favorite for Yoon?

It remains to be seen just how exciting (or, like, not) Yoon is as a possibility for the Cubs. His arm troubles this past year and his time in the bullpen make you wonder whether he’s viewed strictly as a swing-man/depth-type signing. Whatever contract he receives will go a long way to tell us how he’s viewed, which is unfortunately the kind of backwards logic train we have to use with some of these international targets.

  • Kyle

    Is his name Korean for “Gerardo Concepcion”?

    Do not want.

    • Brett

      I don’t really understand how anyone, in our positions, could say “want” or “do not want.” Without knowing scouting evaluations or dollars involved, how can you possibly say that with a straight face?

      • http://deleted cub2014

        Brett, thats Kyle logic for you.

      • Kyle

        I’m fully aware that the potential to be hilariously wrong for amateurs is pretty high.

        But they’ve lost their benefit of the doubt with enough bad signings.

      • Kyle

        I mean, if we want to defer to the experts, that’s fine, but that would shut down 90% of the site. Might as well just repost the Cubs’ press releases and that’s that.

        • Brett

          Easy now – I’ve seen Edwin Jackson pitch. A lot. He has stats that are reliably based on something I’m very familiar with.

          Can you say the same about Yoon? A little different situation, yes?

          • Kyle

            I can read reports from people who have seen him pitch, and I can look at the results when Korean league batters see his pitches from the batters box. I find both thoroughly unimpressive.

            Do not want.

            • Brett

              (Just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to get you to stop discussing things and just defer to the experts. I was trying to get you to say things like this, rather than just “Do not want.”)

              • Kyle

                It’d be a lot easier for me for everyone to just assume I have really awesome points behind my opinions rather than make me outline them/think of them.

                • DarthHater

                  Do not question.

          • ssckelley

            You spend way to much time arguing with Kyle, you respond to him more than you do anyone else on your site. Give some of your other readers a try.

            Yeah I’m jelly! 😀

            • Kyle

              Besides wielding The Crushing Fist of Logic, I am also The Most Important Cubs Fan On The Internet.

              • ssckelley

                How much do you sell your autographs for?

                • Kyle

                  Well, it is Cyber Monday, so I could offer a discount.

                  (mostly I posted that so I could take a stand for common usage becoming “Cyber Monday” and not “cybermonday”

                  • hansman

                    Just be glad it’s not #cybrmon

        • http://deleted cub2014

          This is such a ridiculous exercise but here it goes.
          Who are the bad international signings in the last
          2 years that you can definitively say are a bust.

          • Kyle

            “definitively say are a bust” is a bit of a copout. The only one who definitely meets that standard is Concepcion. But Frandy De La Rosa and Paniagua are looking pretty shaky as well.

            • http://deleted cub2014

              Kyle just making an exaggerated overstatement,
              you should know what those are.

            • Chad

              With those type of signings the rate of failure is much higher i would say. You of all people should know that not all, or the majority of latin signings will probably end up in busts. Do you think Yoon is going to get Darvish money? If he gets a decent contract and performs ok is that a bust, or is it a decent signing? Just depends on all the details.

              • Kyle

                If he becomes a useful MLB pitcher, then it’s not a bust. But I don’t see that happening.

                • willis

                  Fuji’s been a bust.

                  • Carew

                    Thats not really fair to say

                    • willis

                      How is that not fair? The guy was signed to a decent money contract, came over to the states and promptly blew his elbow out. May pitch a month or two this year IF he recovers enough to be servicable. Bust.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I love this site…but Brett, it’s too bad there are brand new “topics” created that cut-off existing discussions in the previous “topic.” Oh well, you are the boss.

    Anyway…Dionar Navarro is now the starting catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and JP Arencibia is rumored headed to the White Sox.

    • Brett

      “I love this site…but Brett, it’s too bad there are brand new “topics” created that cut-off existing discussions in the previous “topic.” Oh well, you are the boss.”

      I’m … sorry? For writing timely new articles throughout the day? I’ll … stop?

      You can continue those discussions at any time. They don’t disappear – folks are continuing the discussion right now on several posts.

      • hansman

        Damnit Brett, tell the news to slow down.

      • cubfanbob

        It’s the column / forum setup your blog uses. Other than the recent comments in the column on the right it’s not the most user friendly imho. Ever thought of using disqus or another comment / forum software ?

        • Kyle

          Well, keep in mind this is primarily a blog, not a message board. My comments may keep his servers lit, but that’s not the main purpose here.

          • Brett

            Gigantic love to all of the commenters (and I dedicate a disproportionate amount of my time to the community side of things because I care about it), but this is correct.

        • Brett

          I’ve looked into Disqus as a future possibility.

          As for the setup, it’s pretty much the same – in terms of function – as any news/blog/entertainment site out there. This is how they are structured. The discussion side of things is absolutely awesome, but the focus is the post.

          • DarthHater

            Clearly you are one of those 20th-century dinosaurs who believes that the purpose of the internet is to convey information. Those in the know recognize that its true purpose is to promote the exponential growth of narcissistic self-absorption.

          • cubfanbob

            Ya disqus seems to be the most functional other bloggers / websites are using.I think it’s free but could be wrong. Trying to find an older conversation to reply to or find an older post Assman2 made on the main Bleachernation blog comments section is painful and even more so on your smartphone.

    • ssckelley

      This has to be the dumbest comment you have ever made here (and there are a lot of them). I have not seen good discussions in other blogs stop simply because Brett posts a new article.

  • woody

    Is there anybody besides Cano that doesn’t have Boras for their agent? Good grief might as well give him an office at Cubs headquarters.

  • josh ruiter

    Kyle, it is quite a generalized, poorly thought through comment. Say you get a guy who is slightly below the level of Ryu by the career numbers, and will come over on a prove it, say $2-4 million a year for 3 years. I am not saying that he will get that, just making a point so bear with me. Knowing how Ryu translated quite well to MLB, it is within the realm of reason that Yoon could as well. Say he even posts a 3.75 ERA over that contract as a starter or bullpen arm you are happy with that (yes, other stats would be more important, again this is for sake of argument). On that deal with that possible outcome I would “want” him, but with a significantly larger deal, in the realm of 7-10million, again just for argument – not actual potential dollars, I would “not want” him. Brett, as usual, is quite correct in saying without knowing what the reports and scouts are saying about his potential, his stuff translating to MLB and his buy-low possibility would it be a wise signing or fools gold? I wouldn’t mind taking a flyer on him – rather spend that money on a potential 3/4 guy than on a bench player anyways.

    • Kyle

      “slightly below the level of Ryu” is a very generous way of describing him.

      Strikeout rates are generally the single most important indicator of a pitcher’s ability to transition to more difficult leagues. 7.8 K/9 out of the bullpen? That’s an indication MLB hitters are going to tee off on him. Ryu had 10.3 K/9 as a starter (where Ks are generally lower).

      This guy isn’t a little worse than Ryu. He’s a lot worse.

  • http://permalink toby taylr

    the sky is falling the sky is falling- cubs fans. who couldn’t use another arm on a prove it type of contract? I know 29 other teams that would do it if the $s right

    • jon

      Your “sky is falling” bit is old now, and pretty much troll bait.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Just about every team in every sport will sign just about any half-decent player if the price is right and there’s a roster spot open.

      As for people who don’t like Yoon, such as Kyle, I’m guessing they don’t think Yoon will fulfill the half-decent part of the equation, regardless of whether he will fulfill the price is right part of the equation.

  • http://permalink toby taylr

    not old bait –I have been a cubs fan for 40 years and im frustrated and ill just like everyone else, but cant we get thru till at least the 1st week of jan before everybody is crying about what we have or don’t have?

    • When the Music’s Over

      Nobody was crying. It was an opinion posted about a potential Cubs target. If all opinions were held from this website until the first week of January, I wouldn’t read a word of the comments section of this website.

  • http://permalink toby taylr

    everybody gets pissy and starts crying over a observation or a maybe —why don’t we see what happens when the dust settles

    • Jon

      If people can’t debate their opinions/observations, positive or negative, then what is the point of even having a discussion forum?

      You telling people to be quite and don’t voice an opinion, if isn’t positive, is just as obnoxious and lazy as the opposite end of the spectrum.

    • Kyle


      I said “Do not want.”

      Why you still arguing what’s already been decided?

      • Edwin

        You wish you were as awesome as Captain Hammer.

  • Kramden

    Gotta go with Kyle on this one.

    Also, no matter how cheap or “reasonable” a contract is…. a bad player is a bad player regardless of cost.

  • BenRoethig

    This guy scares me. I think he’s highly overrated.

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    This guy could be good, but I would love to know more about what role they see him in. Swing man? Is he a better option than Villanueva? Starter? Is he a better option than Wood/Shark/Jackson/Arrieta or a reasonable contender for the fifth spot? Bullpen? Is he a better option than any or all of the arms in house looking to get a spot? Depth? Even a “bargain” international signing could likely be pricey for a depth move.

    I’m no expert, and I have to believe that the Cubs scouts would have a plan in mind if they go after this guy. But on this signing, i feel like I would need a lot more information on what they think they are getting and how he would fit into the picture before getting excited about it or saying “do not want.”

  • Aaron

    Question to all…is the Cubs franchise worth more NOW compared to the $845 million the Ricketts’ family bought it for and before Theo and others were hired to run it?

  • rockin’ dawg

    Meh….I’d rather give Kyle Hendricks a shot than sign this guy to be a (possible) 5th starter.

    • Brett

      Why not have them both in the fold? Injuries and ineffectiveness happen. Signing Yoon really doesn’t impact Hendricks at all.

  • SenorGato

    I too want nothing to do with this guy. BOR and long man pen options aren’t really needs here, the Cubs need bigger talents than this.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Fujisawa had a bad arm when they signed him last year and will most likely be out till at least July this coming year. Another $ 10 million wasted on a Asian free agent signing. Indications are this Korean has ” arm ” issues as well. Save your money to be spent on healthy arms like Tanaka or next years first round pick.

    • willis

      Amen to this. Count me in the “please don’t sign him” corner.

    • cub2014

      fujikawa was 9m for 2 years (cubs have options on
      out). so even if he has a good half of 2014 & 2015.
      that comes out to 10m per year of use (if he makes it
      back and is any good).

      I agree if these type of signings are cutting into money
      spent on Tanaka or Choo or Ellsbury then dont do it.

      we have to look at these signings overall. right now
      fujikawa,baker & concepcion look pretty bad. i wouldnt
      quit signing guys because of a few failures we still have
      25-30 international signing that we dont know about yet
      and there have been a few successes with these
      reclamation projects.

  • Mick

    Check him out, he’s got some junk and he locates it really well:

    I’d project him more for a bullpen role but he does have 3 pitches. He might actually turn out to be a great value signing for whoever gets him.

  • Bill

    If resources are tight, why would we sign someone like this pitcher? Do not sign. The Cubs have BOR starting pitchers and bullpen options that are cheaper. They need TOR pitching talent or a quality bat. Use this money to bring in more impact talent not a fringe pitcher. This is why signing Hughes would have made no sense.

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