The Twins figure to seek pitching depth this winter, both starters and relievers, and they aren't limiting themselves to known MLB quantities. Vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff told Mike Bernandino of the Pioneer Press the team is "fully engaged" in the market for South Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon.
"We've watched him forever," said Radcliff. "He pitched as a reliever this year. Could he start again? We'd have to determine that before, during and after the process ... He's used to being a starter and going six or seven innings. He can still throw a pitch as fast as ever. The questions are his durability and stamina and innings. That's the assessment each and every team has to make."
Yoon, 27, had a 4.00 ERA in 87 2/3 innings across 13 starts and 17 relief appearances for the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization this season. His workload was limited due to shoulder trouble. Yoon won the league MVP award in 2011 after going 17-5 with a 2.45 ERA in 172 1/3 innings.
According to Bernandino, Yoon usually sits in the 91-92 mph range with his fastball, but it's unclear if the shoulder problems cost him any velocity. He also throws a slider and a changeup. Yoon has plenty of interenational experience, both in the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic. The Twins have had Radcliff and others watch him regularly.
Yoon will be a true free agent this winter, meaning he can sign with an MLB team without going through the posting process. He is represented by Scott Boras and would be the youngest starting pitcher on the free agent market, assuming, of course, that teams think he can start in the big leagues.
With an entire offseason still to go, the Twins currently have Kevin Correia, Scott Diamond, Andrew Albers, Liam Hendricks and Kyle Gibson slated for the rotation. Yoon could certainly help their staff in some capacity, even out of the bullpen.
Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu came over from South Korea last winter and had a marvelous season with the Dodgers, going 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA in 192 innings.