Seung Hwan Oh was a 35-year-old, right-handed pitcher, who we signed to a free agent contract a couple of weeks back. He gets $1.75 million this year, and $2.5 million if he pitches in 70 games or if the team picks up the option.
And, at the moment he’s waiting for a work visa. It’s a strange system, he can’t get the visa until he has a job/contract and, of course, it takes a couple of weeks (or so) to get the visa. It’s kind of weird that he can’t pitch in a spring game, but he can workout with the team. All will be resolved before the season starts.
He had signed with the Rangers, but he didn’t pass the physical. The Rangers tried to renegotiate, but Oh decided to take the Blue Jays offer. I don’t know what the Rangers’ issue was, but I would imagine there are few perfectly healthy 35-year-old pitching arms. The Jays don’t seem concerned.
Oh, from South Korea, came over from Japan, and pitched for the Cardinals for the past two seasons. He was excellent, as a 33-year-old rookie, putting up a 1.92 ERA, with a 32.9% strikeout rate. His second season wasn’t excellent, 4.10 ERA and a 20.5% strikeout rate.
What changed? Stephen Loftus at FanGraphs said:
Oh’s velocity essentially didn’t change from 2016 to 2017, so the decay in his numbers doesn’t seem to be tied to that. However, he saw decreases in vertical drop from both his slider (3.01 to 3.27 inches) and splitter (4.49 to 6.24) in 2017. What caused this change in movement?
It seems like his mechanics changed, just slightly, but enough to cause a little less movement on his pitches. If he can figure how to get back to the old mechanics, we’ll be really happy.
PECOTA thinks we are in for a disappointment. They have Oh at a 5.21 ERA in 57 innings, 52 strikeouts and 24 walks. ZiPS is more hopeful, 3.39 ERA.
Which will be closer to Oh 2018 ERA?
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