UPDATE: Here's Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports throwing cold water on the whole thing:
Source says Yoon and #Orioles are not in agreement. Photo he tweeted might have been a joke between friends. O’s one of five clubs in mix.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 12, 2014
A joke between friends? Well, good thing industrious bloggers didn't write a post about nothing. If you're wondering what all the fuss was about, here's a snapshot of a moment in time where, out of boredom or desperation, we (by which I mean I) jumped the gun a little bit.
The Orioles have had little luck in signing the players they've targeted who were already Major League Baseball players. Maybe now they've finally found someone to sign with them, though, in Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon, who on Tuesday night (Wednesday on his side of the world) tweeted a picture of himself in an Orioles hat.
짜잔~~^^ pic.twitter.com/0Jud1odB76— Yoon_sm-(윤석민) (@bbergong) February 12, 2014
There is nothing about this that is not fantastic, right down to the fact that this is what passes for journalism at times in 2014. It's not like the Orioles are doing anything else right now.
According to MyKBO.net, the rough translation of the accompanying text is, "Ta-da!" Either Yoon has acquired a Robert Pattinson-like random fondness for Orioles hats or he has some kind of agreement in place with the Orioles.
Whether there's anything to it is not something the regular Orioles beat writers have gotten wind of yet:
W hat tip to @MyKBO RHP Suk-Min Yoon has tweeted pic of him in Os hat w caption "ta-da." Trying to confirm. Seems like news to some Os types— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) February 12, 2014
Either the guys Dan Connolly called at 11 o'clock at night are right and there's not anything going on yet, or they're playing coy pending the physical, or they just have no idea what is going on because they aren't people Dan Duquette consults before signing a Korean client of Scott Boras late on a Tuesday night.
MASN's Roch Kubatko characterized "two prominent members" of the organization as not having heard anything about an agreement with Yoon.
Orioles beat writers are not known for breaking major news concerning signings and contract extensions the team may be making, so the initial lack of knowledge by the local beat corps is not in and of itself a sign that nothing is going on.
Who is Suk-min Yoon? He won the 2011 MVP award for the KBO while pitching for the Kia Tigers, putting up a 2.45 ERA with a 9.3 K/9 and a 2.3 BB/9 over 175.2 innings. That is good indeed, though it's against a vastly different level of competition.
Unfortunately, Yoon had some shoulder problems as recently as 2013, so given the issues with the Orioles and physicals this season, it's no sure thing he'll be signed even if an agreement is in place, or that he'll be healthy.
ESPN's Keith Law ranked Yoon as #37 on his top 50 free agents of this offseason, noting that changeup and slider give him potential to end up as a fourth or fifth starter, rather than as a bullpen arm. There is disagreement among teams about whether he should be considered a starter or reliever.
Yoon is only 27, making him the youngest starting pitcher candidate on the market.
Major League Baseball went through the procedural step of the status check on Yoon last month; this is the step that tripped up the Orioles in their fiasco with Seong-min Kim and led to their scouts being banned from scouting in the country. Were they ever un-banned? Nobody knows, but they may have been un-banned enough to scout and sign Yoon.