When the Baltimore Orioles finally awoke from their offseason hibernation, they took to the international market and acquired former Korea Baseball organization MVP, RHP Suk-min Yoon and there was some excitement around town that he could take the fifth spot in the starting rotation. A week later the team made a much bigger splash with the acquisition of RHP Ubaldo Jimenez to solidify the rotation and make Yoon's role a question mark.
In 2013, Yoon dealt with a shoulder injury which limited him to 11 starts with a 4.16 ERA, as well as 19 relief appearances with a 3.60 mark, after putting up some impressive numbers as a starter in 2011 after going 17-5 with a 2.45 ERA, and followed it up in 2012, with a 3.12 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, and 0.53 HR/9 in 153 innings pitched.
Many felt he was likely going to be a starter in the Orioles organization as there was a dyer need in the rotation, but now with Jimenez on board, Yoon may have become the most effected pitcher with the acquisition.
Yoon did pitch pretty well as a reliever in 2013, and even picked up seven saves in the process, so he could be a nice addition to the Orioles' bullpen as a mid-to-long reliever, which is what we projected his role would be when we did our 25-man roster prediction as part of our Spring Training preview.
Hindsight is 20/20 however, and we have had some more time to analyze the bullpen situation, and believe that Josh Stinson is more likely to snag that role in the Orioles bullpen as he is out of options, and performed well out of the pen in the second half of the season. In addition, more details have come out regarding Yoon's contract with the Birds. At first, it was believed that there was a stipulation in his deal that prevented him from being sent to AAA Norfolk, but it is now known that Yoon can in fact be sent to the minors, but only in the first year of the deal.
With the new information regarding his contract, we now believe that Yoon will begin the season as part of AAA Norfolk's starting rotation, which will help both him and the Orioles. Yoon will be able to adjust to the American lifestyle both on and off the field at the much less media-frenzied world of the Minor Leagues. Baltimore's coaching staff will also be able to get a better look at Yoon in game action and better determine how he will most help the team, whether as a starter or a reliever.
Thus, in the end, Jimenez signing with the Orioles has taken Yoon from potentially in the Orioles starting rotation to maybe the bullpen or even as a starter at AAA Norfolk. One free agent signing effected a lot of players, but perhaps none more than Yoon.
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