You can never have too much pitching. It’s an age old adage, and it’s about as true as it can be. Cincinnati has two starting pitchers that are heading for free agency. The Reds could try to re-sign Trevor Bauer and/or Anthony DeSclafani, but those players have the right to go wherever they please, too, so the organization should be looking at plenty of other options to fill out their rotation. Some of those options should be looked at internally as the team could look at Tyler Mahle and Tejay Antone, both of whom filled in during 2020 at times and performed well. But Korean left-handed pitcher Hyeon-Jong Yang is hitting the free agent market this winter, too.

Currently the Reds rotation will line up with Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Wade Miley. After that there’s openings and competition – or at least it seems that there is at this moment in time. Perhaps a guy like Tejay Antone can be viewed as such a weapon out of the bullpen, a guy who could give you 1-inning stints every so often, but be a guy who can give you 2-3 innings 2-3 times a week changes how the team views his usage. Either way, you are going to almost assuredly need more than five starting pitchers in a season.

That’s why taking a look at a pitcher like Hyeon-Jong Yang makes plenty of sense. He’s been very good at times as a starter in the KBO – he won the ERA title in 2019 with a 2.29 mark across 29 starts. In 2020 he took a step backwards, though, as his ERA jumped to 4.66 as his home run and walk rates both went up. You can see his entire KBO history here.

In an era where seemingly everyone throws 95+, Hyeon-Jong Yang doesn’t fit that profile. The left-handed pitcher sits around the 90 MPH range with his fastball, and mixes in a slider, curveball, and a change up. Nothing really jumps out at you from his arsenal, but he’s solid across the board.

At 33-years-old, this isn’t his first foray into free agency. His team actually posted him after the 2014 season. Several teams put in offers, but his team declined the winning bid and decided to keep him under contract. After the 2017 season, when he posted a 3.68 ERA, he was a free agent and didn’t require any posting or bidding process in order to bring him on. He ultimately chose to re-sign with the Kia Tigers – the team he’s been with since 2007 when he made his debut in the KBO.

Perhaps Hyeon-Jong Yang could provide something along the lines of starting pitching depth, but work out of the bullpen as a left-handed reliever. At this point we don’t really know what role he will be looking for, or which role other teams may be interested in offering him. Having additional rotation depth, and perhaps a quality bullpen arm could be useful for the Reds. It’s possible this could be a solid fit.

27 Responses

  1. Doug Messinger

    Just curiously why is there no talk of moving Lorenzen to the rotation? He pitched well as a starter when needed and could go deep into a game with a little more preparation. Seems a waste to only use him as a reliever/spot starter.

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      There has been, other Doug. I simply had it slip my mind when writing that one last night. That’s on me.

      Reply
    • MK

      Because it is two weeks after the season and they are on vacation with their families.

      Reply
  2. Charlie Waffles

    No thanks. Pass. How long would it take him to acclimate to MLB? No sense paying him starter money to wind up being in the bullpen. That is where Miley will end up again in 2021.
    HR’s, BB’s and ERA way up is a bad recipe for GABP.
    The Reds need some LH arms no doubt for the bullpen and rotation. They already have one soft tossing LH in Miley. No need for a repeat. Go get some big LH arms. Might want to use the Braves bullpen as a model.

    Reply
    • Greenfield Red

      Which is why it’s frustrating the Reds traded away young lefthanded pitching in the past year or so.

      Reply
      • RojoBenjy

        Losing Scott Moss and Packy made me sad/mad.

        I agree. Hard pass on this 33 y/o player.

  3. Sliotar

    @Charlie Waffles

    Good post.

    Would also add …. how many over-30s is this team going to collect, especially when it is far from clear they have enough talent offensively to even make a World Series, let alone win it?

    According to Spotrac …

    2021 – excluding Castellanos, around $87 million guaranteed to 8 guys, all 30 or over

    2022 – excluding Castellanos, around $80 million guaranteed to 6 guys, all 30 or older

    With a CBA expiring after 2021, no guarantee of how many fans will be allowed to attend in 2021 … feels like many MLB teams will be getting younger and cheaper, where possible.

    Reply
    • Michael Smith

      I am looking at 2021 Sliotar and I am seeing Barnhart 4.187, Votto 25.0, Moose 14, Shogo 7.0, Gray 10.166, Miley 8.0, Iggy 9.125. This totals up for 77.478 million for 7 guys. Who am I missing?

      Reply
      • Sliotar

        Yep.

        Spotrac doesn’t accurately track “age” to birth date, like FanGraphs does.

  4. Mark Moore

    I was interested until seeing his age. LHP’s who start and have a track record of durability are always worth the look, but without a proven MLB past and the competition from others who also covet LHP’s I have to pass as well.

    Reply
    • DaveCT

      I’d be very concerned with this guy breaking down in a 162 game, seven days per week schedule.

      Reply
  5. Frostgiant80

    I agree the age just doesn’t make it worth it IMO.

    Reply
    • Michael Smith

      @rob

      Suarez will be in his age 29 season or so I thought

      Reply
  6. Michael Smith

    I am looking at 2021 Sliotar and I am seeing Barnhart 4.187, Votto 25.0, Moose 14, Shogo 7.0, Gray 10.166, Miley 8.0, Iggy 9.125. This totals up for 77.478 million for 7 guys. Who am I missing?

    Reply
    • Sliotar

      Suarez will turn 30 on 7/18/2021.

      Spotrac is weak on tracking to actual birth date.

      Reply
      • Michael Smith

        I get where you are going but it’s one thing to point at moose and Votto contracts and then lump 20 year old in his prime Suarez in the group. I think a better way to look at it imo are good contracts (gray, suarez), middling (iggy) and ouch at this point (moose, votto, barnhart)

  7. Shawn

    Gray- 10.7 million
    Castillo- 1st year arbitration
    Mahle- 1st year arbitration
    Miley- 8 million
    Lorenzen – 3rd year arbitration. Made 3.73 last year.
    Or Antone- pre arbitration probably around 600,000

    Lorenzen or Antone. Whichever don’t make the rotation
    Bradley- Arb, made 4.1 million last year
    Iglesias- 9.125 million
    Garrett- 1st Arb
    All other bull pen options are pre Arb. Probably around 600,000
    DeLeon
    Hendrix
    Kuhnel
    Romano
    Santillan
    Simms
    Stevenson
    Only Garrett is Left Handed. Reds will definitely have to look for a couple in the off season.

    Catchers
    Stevenson- pre Arb
    Barnhart- 4.19 million

    1st- Votto 25 million
    2nd- Mouskakas 14 million
    SS – Garcia- pre Arb
    3rd- Suarez- 10.79
    RF- castellanos- 14 million
    CF- Senzel- pre Arb
    LF Winker- 1st year Arb

    Bench
    Farmer- pre Arb
    Shogo- 7 million
    Goodwin- Arb, made 2.2 million this year
    If 13 position players there is room for 1 more. Options are all pre Arb except Janikowski. so around 600,000
    Davidson
    Blandino
    Aquino
    Payton
    Janikowski- Arb. Made 1.05 million last year.

    Reply
    • JayTheRed

      Here is my question. What about Greene and Lodolo and there is another starter I am forgetting in the minors… Those guys are suddenly chump change. Yes I know the are unproven but lets get them up and see what they can do at least 1/2 the season.

      Reply
      • TR

        IMO the Reds sometimes keep young guys too long in the minors before bringing them up to get seasoned in the majors. This seems to be an organizational thing that contrasts this season with the Braves, Rays and Marlins.

      • Michael E

        Agreed. Been saying this for a while. I am sure others would disagree, but had we drafted Trout and not Leake, I am certain Trout would have started in rookie and gotten a stairstep promotion each year. They did bring up Bailey and Bruce a year quicker than I expected, but thats it.

  8. Colorado Red

    I saw NO.
    He is too old, with no MLB experience.

    Reply
  9. Jim

    How come the Reds can’t develop a 1st round prospect in the majors after a year or 2 in minors like other clubs look at the Braves. It’s time to bring them up we don’t need the retreads.

    Reply
  10. CFD3000

    I’m much more interested in seeing what Greene, Lodolo and Santillan can do, added to Lorenzen, Mahle and Antone. That’s a pool of 9 potentially good to great starters even if Bauer doesn’t resign with the Reds. I’ll pass on Yang.

    Speaking of Bauer, I’m actually pleased by his stated preference for one year deals (with some recent wiggle room in more). I’ve never been a fan of the long term gambles on starting pitchers. Think David Price or Barry Zito or, eventually Garrett Cole. But for one or two years I think you can open the vault and roll those dice with a much lower downside. If Bauer wants 1 or 2 years at $35M each I’d jump on that. If he’s Cy Young quality again, take the deal again in two more years. If not, let him go with relatively little harm done. At the very least the Reds should be talking “with intent” to Bauer and his agent.

    Reply
  11. MK

    The KBO is basically AAA caliber. Mel Rojas JR. Is close to winning the triple crown there. Hyeon has pretty pedestrian numbers there so I would take a pass on him. If looking at the league bringing Dan Straily back makes more sense.

    Reply
    • RojoBenjy

      Without Billy Hamilton patrolling CF, Straily would be hurting

      Reply

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