King: Yankees scouting Korean right-hander Seung-Hwan Oh

Scouting The Trade Market: Pablo Sandoval
What Went Wrong: Mark Teixeira

Via George King: The Yankees are among the teams scouting South Korean right-hander Seung-Hwan Oh. He will not be a free agent this winter but is expected to be made available through the posting process. The Yankees are said to have interest in Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka and Korean righty Suk-Min Yoon as well.

Oh, 31, has spent the last nine years with the Samsung Lions and, aside from injury-riddled 2009 and 2010 seasons, has more or less been the best closer in the Korea Baseball Organization during that time. He had a 1.74 ERA with 54 strikeouts and only ten walks in 51 2/3 innings this summer. His career stats are right here. As for a scouting report, King says Oh’s fastball is “between 94 and 96 mph and he has a splitter that disappears,” which is pretty much all the internet has to offer. There’s some video on YouTube.

Only two Asian relievers (Akinori Otsuka and Shinji Mori) have successfully gone through the posting process and both required six-figure bids. That was a long time ago though (2003 and 2005, respectively), so I’m guessing it’ll cost a couple million to talk to an established dominant closer these days. The track record of relievers coming over from Asia is actually really good and the Yankees need bullpen help, plus it would be neat to see them go outside the box for help with a guy like Oh. Assuming he’s good, of course.

Scouting The Trade Market: Pablo Sandoval
What Went Wrong: Mark Teixeira
  • Darren

    I like him as our new closer, keeping DRob where he belongs.

    Plus, Sterling has a perfect call: “Oh, he’s done it again, the Yankees win, the Yankees wiiiiiiin.”

    • MannyGeee

      Or…. or… Sterling breaks out into song:

      “Oh, Oh he’s magic… you knooooow…”

      This is a bad idea.

      • tmoney

        Seung-Hwan Oh just slung one low. The Yankees win theeeeeeeee……

    • Giuseppe

      Why not let Susan start calling the final out?

      “Oh, my goodness gracious!”

    • ropeadope

      Sterling does Broadway:

      OOOOHH-klahoma, where the saves come in bunches, the hitters playin’ hunches,
      And the wavin’ at splitters sure smells sweet.
      OOOOHH-klahoma, where the batters look foolish, the hackers gettin’ churlish,
      And again the opposition goes down to defeat.

      Yankees win, the Yankees wiiiiiin!

      (Needs work but I need to run).

      • Betty Lizard

        Well done!

        • Betty Lizard

          “OH what a beautiful inning! OH what a beautiful save !”

          • ropeadope

            Love it Betty.

            Mine would work better if the team could actually call Oklahoma its home. Yours works perfectly regardless of location.

    • Goulip

      Brandon Knight, a former Yankee (one of the greatest, for sure) now pitching in the KBO said he doesn’t see Oh closing in MLB. Fastball too straight and flat compared to other established MLB closers. According to him, could be a set up guy, though.

  • pat

    I love a good splitter. Sign me up. I’m not exactly thrilled with the thought of D-Robb closing, so lets plug this dude in and let him go to work.

  • nsalem

    Not giving Robertson a shot as closer would mean there is a good chance of losing him after 2015. Don’t know if that should be a consideration.

  • MannyGeee

    I can see the possibility of Oh being the D-Rob to D-Rob Mariano. If he posts at a few million, you sign him on a whim for 3/12 or something, and he becomes your set up man… I can get behind that.

    Also worth mentioning, Robertson has not exactly been Mr Durable out there, Oh could potentially be a legit back up plan.

  • Havok9120

    I’d really like to see this happen if the price is right. Seems like a good move to make with our pitching staff in its current state and it might be a bit of a market inefficiency that can be exploited.

    Not sure why people are assuming he’d immediately be made closer, though. Dude would be making several pretty huge transitions and we have no way of knowing how he’d translate from Korea to the AL East. And, to be blunt, I have absolutely no idea at all why anyone would be more comfortable with a total unknown from a lesser league taking over from Mo rather than one of the dozen or so best relievers in the MLB.

  • mitch

    Definitely seems like he’s worth a look. I don’t care who enters the season with the “closer” label. As long as they have a solid group of arms, things will work out. Look at the two teams in the WS. Rosenthal has 3 career regular season saves. Uehara is 38 years old and didn’t become a closer until July.

  • Preston

    Seems like a lot to pay for a reliever. 31 yo is already on the downside for most relievers and 96 sounds impressive, but it’ll be really hittable if it’s straight. Is he a multi-million dollar upgrade over Betances, Montgomery, Claiborne and company? Maybe, and I guess it beats paying 8 figures for a reliever in FA.

  • sevrox

    Off-topic, but it’s the offseason so what’s the difference.

    You folks here always spoke of Buck/McCarver’s love affair with Pedroia – I never really listened/noticed it until last night – one of them said ‘Pedroia’s by far the gutsiest player in any lineup in baseball’ or something to that effect. Said with all seriousness. Hilarious. Somewhat nauseating.

    • mitch

      You must be behind on your sabermetrics because gutsiness is a statistic:
      (Hard Slides + Groundball Dives + Fist pumps)

      Don’t confuse this with grittiness (which Pedroia is also first):

      (% of uniform covered in dirt + hat salinity + length of beard)

  • Preston

    I don’t know why anybody would be hesitant to put Robertson in as closer. Over the last three years he 11.99 k/9 3.3 bb/9 and a 47.5% GB% with a 1.91 ERA, that’s crazy good.

    • Pee Wee Herman Ruth

      Because Robertson has not been the full-time closer. So, let’s see how he performs this upcoming year before we anoint him the closer for the next 10 years.

      There is no harm in hedging your bets…but a lot of harm in having no viable options should Robertson fail in the ninth inning role.

      • AllyinCt

        Agreed; would be nice to add another quality arm to the pen in the absence of Mariano…Far East to AL East…

      • Preston

        My point wasn’t that the Yankees don’t need to acquire depth. They do. But other than Kimbrel, Holland, and Jansen, who out there has been a better relief pitcher the last three years. I don’t put any stock in the idea that you need to have experience as a closer to do the job. Pitching in the big leagues is stressful, setting up is stressful, if you couldn’t handle the stress you’d have washed out already.

        • I’m One

          I remember a time at the beginning of the ’97 season where the Yankees moved this guy from set-up man to closer even though it was only his 3rd season in the bigs and he had only been a set-up guy for a year. I think his name was Mariano somebody. I heard he did pretty well for a period of time.

          Not say D-Rob will do the same, but you gotta start at some point.

  • nsalem

    Actually they said he was the gutsiest player in any line-up in any sport. He is the gutsiest human i n the history of the world. Pedroia is gutsier than Jesus, Gandhi,Lincoln and those who stormed the beach at Normandy combined. He is also faster than a speeding bullet and leaps tall building in a single bound.

  • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

    Oh, kill ’em ohhhhhh.

  • hmm

    Oh, without exaggeration, has been Mariano Rivera of Korean baseball for last several years. Definition of consistent shutdown reliever and also (while he throws hard slider occasionally) he has been able to dominate hitters with a very heavy fastball. As far as I’m concerned, he has the velocity, his slider’s also solid, and he hasn’t really had any discernible command/control problem.

    I think it depends on if his fastball would overpower the ML hitters or not. His velocity’s around 92~96mph and it’s also a bit of heavy rising fastball, which works exceptionally against Korean hitters. Obviously MLB is a jump from KBO so it’ll depend if that will work in ML. I can definitely see Oh being a solid middle-reliever and/or reliable set up man in ML.

    • hmm

      also here’s a good video of his pitches

      • Preston

        I think it’s a slight red flag that his K’s dropped off a lot last year. 13 k per 9 in 2012, to 9.4 k per 9 in 2013, the lowest K rate of his career.

        • forensic

          to 9.4 k per 9 in 2013, the lowest K rate of his career.

          He had 8 K/9 in 2008 and a close 9.6 K/9 in 2007.

          • Preston

            Right, I don’t know how I missed the 2008 number. It still bothers me that he he had 12k per 9 in 2011, 13 in 2012, and then 9.4 in 2013. If we were talking about an MLB closer that would be a huge red flag, this guys coming from KBO and is going to have to simultaneously adjust to a huge upgrade in talent and possibly learning how to pitch with diminishing stuff?

  • CashmanNinja

    I don’t think it’d cost all that much to get him, plus the majority of his price tag will most likely come from the posting fee so that doesn’t count again the $189 mil. With that being said…if we got him then fine, but I wouldn’t go overboard. He seems to live up in the zone a lot. It’s well and fine when he’s firing 96 mph, but if hitters can pick up on him then he could get hit around a bit.

  • rose heller

    as long as they don’t use preston clairborne!!!!!!!!!!!!!