I never really bought that bogus “joking among friends” explanation …
That Oriole-hat donning picture from Suk-Min Yoon was the real deal, according to multiple reports that indicate the Orioles are in agreement with the Korean righty. He’ll reportedly get three years and $5.75 million plus incentives based on starts. The deal, which is pending a physical, confirms that teams viewed Yoon as a possible starting option, but not a lock. He battled a shoulder issue last year, and, despite his age (27), could only get a small guarantee. That should tell you all you need to know about the potential upside here (as in: there isn’t too much).
Given the deal, it’s fair to conclude that the Orioles may not necessarily have landed their long-sought starting pitcher just yet. A.J. Burnett may have been their preferred option, but he signed with the Phillies. Add a couple million for Yoon and money to spend on a bat like Kendrys Morales, Baltimore may not have enough left in their budget to sign someone like Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana. Jeff Samardzija will make just a touch over $5 million next year, O’s. Just sayin’.
In other potentially Jeff Samardzija-relevant news …
The Mariners’ pitching situation behind Felix Hernandez just became a little more dire (it already looked scary): Hisashi Iwakuma, quietly one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last two years, has a strained tendon in his right middle finger (pitching hand), which will prevent him from throwing for the next four to six weeks. Even if he’s back on the mound in a month, Iwakuma will need another few weeks to ramp up for competitive pitching, so he’s going to miss some regular season time.
Is that enough to push the Mariners to acquire a pitcher? Maybe not by itself, but they already needed another starter or two. I still tend to think it’ll be someone like Jimenez or Santana, but it’s possible, with Jeff Samardzija rumors popping back up, that the Mariners come back to the Cubs.