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Posted : 2014-02-04 17:01
Updated : 2014-02-04 17:01

Yoon Suk-min 'close' to MLB deal

Free agent pitcher
Yoon Suk-min
By Kim Young-jin

Free agent pitcher Yoon Suk-min is reportedly close to a deal with a Major League Baseball club after drawing interest from several teams during the hot stove season.

Fox Sports writer Jon Morosi tweeted Tuesday that Scott Boras, Yoon's agent, said "six or seven teams" were interested in the 27-year-old Korean and that a deal was "very close."

The Baltimore Sun reported that the Baltimore Orioles have made an offer but that Yoon had yet to make a decision.

Rumors swirled around the former Kia Tigers standout after he threw in front of scouts from the Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants last week.

The Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins are also reportedly interested.

The Sun reported that club officials wanted to make sure that Yoon was healthy during last week's pitching session.

Yoon has attracted media attention because Korea's most recent big-name export, Ryu Hyun-jin, mounted a successful rookie campaign with the Los Angeles Dodgers last year. However, expectations are muted because Yoon was hampered by a shoulder injury last year.

The Korean had a tough year in 2013 after sustaining the injury during the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March. He made his season debut in May, coming out of the bullpen, but managed only 87 innings and his ERA soared over 4.00.

Yoon, who has a solid slider and has posted strong strikeout-to-walk ratios, has been seen as one of the country's most likely exports to the big leagues. It was Yoon, not Ryu, who was Korea's best pitcher when the country mounted its 2009 WBC run.

His prowess for the Tigers peaked in 2011, when he went 17-5 with a 2.45 earned run average (ERA) with the Tigers in 2011.

Observers here noted that Yoon's fastball, which used to reach the high-140 to low-150 kilometer-per-hour range, hovered in the mid-140s last year. He gave up a career-high .92 homeruns per nine innings.

Meanwhile, the Cubs last month signed 37-year-old pitcher Lim Chang-yong to a minor-league deal.

Lim made his big league debut for the team last year after being called up from the minors. He appeared in six games and had an ERA of 5.40.

Lim, who pitched for more than a dozen seasons in Korea and Japan, had ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction on his pitching elbow in 2012.

He has pitched well in the minors, allowing only four earned runs in 22 1/3 innings for a 1.61 ERA.


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