We know how the front office of the Chicago Cubs likes to find as many down-on-their-luck pitchers as possible to see how many of them might have some good innings left. The Jason Hammel signing isn’t official, but pending a physical and the Cubs figuring out who to take off the 40-man roster, he’ll be in the mix for the fifth starter. But that hasn’t stopped them from scouting another free agent pitcher.
Korean free-agent pitcher Suk-Min Yoon auditioned for Cubs and Rangers scouts on Tuesday in Arizona, and the client of agent Scott Boras continues to seek a multiyear Major League contract.
The 27-year-old right-hander threw 30 pitches Tuesday, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. The Orioles already have made Yoon an offer, and the Twins and Giants are believed to be interested as well.
What do we know about Yoon?
Yoon pitched in the Kia Tigers’ starting rotation before a shoulder injury cost him much of the first half of the past Korean Baseball Organization season. He pitched in 30 games, 19 as a reliever, and was 3-6 with a 4.00 ERA and seven saves. In 2011, he was 17-5 with a 2.45 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 172 1/3 innings and won his league’s MVP honor.
Before last season, Yoon was considered the second best starter in Korea, after Hyun-jin Ryu, who was 14-6, had a 3.00 ERA and 1.203 WHIP in 192 innings for the Dodgers last season. He seems like the kind of pitcher the Cubs would go after, but with at least four other teams in the mix, it might not be at the price the Cubs would like.
In case you were wondering, Darwin Barney is still talking about getting better as a hitter this season.
“This year, I took plenty of time off [after the season],” Barney told CSN’s Kelly Crull in a 1-on-1 interview at the Cubs Convention last month. “I needed to rest the muscle memory. I created some bad habits.
“Trying to maybe do too much on the production side rather than finding ways to get on base and get hits. What got me here is the approach I’m going to go back to.”
So what’s he been doing about it?
“The first day, we spent three hours in the cage,” Barney said. “A lot of talking going on about approach and just releasing tension and perfecting the setup and stuff where you’re worrying about the things you can control.”
Is there any doubt he’ll win a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger this season?