After the rival Rangers failed to lock up the Korean star, the Blue Jays swooped in to solidify their bullpen.
Late on Sunday night Blue Jays fans were treated to a nice end to the weekend and another new face to look forward to in Spring Training. As reported by Robert Murray of Fan Rag Sports, South Korean right-hander Seung-hwan Oh will be joining the team for 2018.
— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayFRS) February 26, 2018
Oh, who is 35-years old, joins the Jays after two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. Previously, Oh played with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization before two years in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers. He had been a closer in Korea and Japan since his first season in 2005.
With his dominance at the back of the bullpen for a decade in Korea and Japan, Oh earned himself two of the best nicknames in baseball: The Stone Buddha and The Final Boss. And dominance it was: in Korea’s KBO, Oh posted a K/9 of 11.0 and a BB/9 of just 2.1 (though the KBO hitters tend to be free-swinging.) His numbers were similar in Japan, where he struck out 9.7/9 and walked even fewer, at just 1.9 BB/9.
|2 Yr||2 Yr||2.85||138||73||39||139.0||123||51||44||15||33||157||577||146||3.12||1.122||8.0||1.0||2.1||10.2||4.76|
Coming to America
Relatively early into the season, Oh managed to win over Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and he was closing games by midsummer, supplanting an erratic and often-injured Trevor Rosenthal. He finished 2016 with 79.2 IP and 19 saves, which he bested with 20 saves in 2017 over 59.1 innings. Oh held the position for only a year, though, as his HR rate jumped from 0.6 in 2017, to 1.5 in 2018 – an unacceptable number for anyone at the end of a big league bullpen. His ERA jumped to 4.10 (4.44 FIP) and he was striking out 3.4 less batters per nine innings.
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The Jays will be spending a rather measly $2 Million on Seung-hwan Oh in 2018 to pitch in between Ryan Tepera and Roberto Osuna at the end of the bullpen. As we’ve stated here before, Oh would be the ideal type of pitcher to go towards replacing the excellence of Dominic Leone that was lost in January’s acquisition of Randal Grichuk.
Oh is indeed in decline at the age of 35, which is entirely possible, he my not contribute a huge amount to the 2018 Blue Jays. Still, at just a $2 Million asking price, they may have found plenty of value to contribute to a very strong bullpen in 2018.
*Featured Image Via C Stem- JFtC
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Roy’s earliest memories all involve baseball from the early 90’s and the Blue Jays dream teams. He became a Blue Jays fan while watching Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green evolve in Syracuse, NY at the run-down confines of MacArthur Stadium, nestled between highway and swamp. A lifelong baseball player, Roy still plays (P, C, 2B, 3B) in the 25+ Syracuse MSBL for the Liverpool Mets. He watches almost all games with his best buddy Sebastian, a five year old Pug, who could care less.