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Will Yoon pitch Stateside?

Kia pitcher signs with MLB agent Boras


The country’s pro-baseball season is over, heralding speculation about players moving to other clubs.

And the biggest transfer rumor involves Kia Tigers pitcher Yoon Suk-min.

Reports say that the 25-year-old right-hander could leave the country to join Major League Baseball as early as next year.

Yoon, the 2011 KBO’s MVP, revealed last week that he had signed with MLB agent Scott Boras as a part of his long-term plan to pitch in the American top league.

Although a handful of Korean players, including former L.A. Dodgers pitcher Park Chan-ho, former Arizona Diamondbacks closer Kim Byung-hyun and Cleveland Indians slugger Choo Shin-soo, made it into the big league, they had never played in the KBO league.

If the rumor is true, Yoon will become the first Korean player to make the transfer from the KBO league to the Major League.

Speaking of the speculation, Yoon said that he always wanted to play in the big league, but added “nothing has been decided yet.”

Yoon, who debuted with Tigers in 2005, will not become a free agent until after the 2013 season. However, he will be able to join the Major League through the posting system, a transfer arrangement allowing players under contract to sign with foreign clubs ahead of free agency.
Kia Tiger`s right-hander Yoon Suk-min (Yonhap News)
Kia Tiger`s right-hander Yoon Suk-min (Yonhap News)

But it will all depend on what Kia Tigers decides. Kia can post Yoon through KBO’s office to any Major League team. Interested teams will have a couple of days to submit a secret bid, if Kia accepts the highest bid, the team will be able to negotiate with Yoon.

Kia Tigers has not stated its intentions yet. However, newly appointed manager Sun Dong-ryul revealed he would not let Yoon go until the team lifts the league trophy next season.

The good news, though, is Yoon is now with the well-experienced Boras, who represents more than 100 professional players, including Cleveland’s Choo.

Boras is known for winning lucrative contracts for his clients. Korean veteran pitcher Park won a $65 million deal over five seasons with the Texas Rangers while he was with Boras in 2002.

Yoon had his career best season this year. He finished 17-5 with a 2.45 ERA over 172 1/3 innings, helping the team advance to the post season. He led in wins, ERA, strikeouts (178) and also winning percentage (.773) in the KBO league.

By Oh Kyu-wook (596story@heraldcorp.com)
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