Oh Seung-hwan joins Blue Jays, says pitching elbow is fine
The 35-year-old signed a one-year deal worth $1.75 million with the Blue Jays on Monday and arrived at the team’s spring training site in Dunedin, Florida, the following day.
Oh’s deal includes a $2.5 million option and $250,000 buyout. He nearly had a deal with the Texas Rangers earlier this month but reportedly failed a physical due to some elbow issues.
The Jays swooped in and acquired the former St. Louis Cardinals closer, hoping he could bridge the gap to All-Star closer Roberto Osuna.
When asked about his elbow, Oh told MLB.com, “No problem at all.
“I’ve been throwing several bullpen sessions before I got here. I’m supposed to have another bullpen tomorrow,” Oh was quoted as saying. “Working out everything with [pitching coach Pete Walker] at this point and then going from there.”
Oh could earn extra money based on his appearances. He has to play in 70 games this year for his option to kick in for 2019. He will make an additional $125,000 each time he reaches 40, 50, 60 and 70 games in 2018. He will earn another $125,000 each time he is the team’s final pitcher in 25, 30, 35 and 40 games.
Oh will make an additional $250,000 if he closes out 45 games and another $250,000 if he closes out 50.
In 2016, he went 6-3 with 19 saves and a 1.92 ERA in 79 2/3 innings over 76 games while recording 103 strikeouts against just 18 walks. He took over as the closer midseason and ended up being the last pitcher in 35 games.
But Oh struggled last year, going 1-6 with 20 saves and a 4.10 ERA in 59 1/3 innings over 62 games. He only struck out 54 batters while walking 15 as his opponents started making more contact.
Oh is the career saves leader in the Korea Baseball Organization with 277 across nine seasons with the Samsung Lions. He recorded 80 more saves for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan in 2014 and 2015 before jumping over to the Cardinals for the 2016-17 season.