The baseball season is officially over. Gone is the 2013 season, and in comes the 2013-2014 offseason. This is where the fun begins. Sandy Alderson has some financial flexibility, and it is time for the Mets to be in the conversation about playoff contenders. Although Alderson does have a good chunk of change to play around with — since Jason Bay and Johan Santana are coming off the books — he doesn’t give the impression that he’s going to make gargantuan deals and spend all his money at once. He may still be looking for a deal.
There are a bunch of options have major-league experience, however those options may cost a lot of money. Alderson could look to the international market for a deal. There is the highly-touted Masahiro Tanaka from Japan. Nonetheless, it seems as though Tanaka will probably require an expensive posting fee prior to negotiation. A team could end up paying $100 million — including the posting fee and contract — for Tanaka.
Luckily another pitcher on the international market is flying under the radar: Suk-Min Yoon of the Korean baseball league. Yoon will still require a posting fee, but it will not be as expensive as Tanaka’s. He isn’t nearly as hyped as fellow countryman Hyun-jin Ryu was when he decided to pursue a major-league career.
The scouting reports describe Yoon as not as overpowering pitcher as Yu Darvish. He’s more similar to Kyle Lohse. His fastball sits between 91-93 MPH. Scouts say that he features an above-average changeup. Fastball-changeup combos are undervalued because scouts seem to like breaking balls. However, we’ve seen a large group of guys who have great fastball-changeup combos — such as Ryu, James Shields, and Michael Wacha. Yoon is not as good as that group of guys, but if his changeup is as good as the scouts say, he probably has a chance to be a solid major-league pitcher.
The combination of Yoon being under the radar, and his undervalued pitch combination, means that he could come at a discount. Given that he dealt with a shoulder injury in 2013, his posting fee probably would not be very high as he comes with some risk. He’s also probably not going to get a larger average annual value than Ryu, who got $6 million a year. A deal of two years at $10 million total would be within range for Yoon — and $5 million a year for a solid pitcher is a pretty good deal.
The Mets need some depth in the starting pitching department. The staff can’t be made up of fringy washups like Aaron Harang and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Some fresh arms need to be brought in, and Yoon is an exciting new face who has the potential to be good pitcher for the Mets.