Blue Jays reach agreement with right-hander Seung-hwan Oh

MLB insider Ben Nicholson-Smith discusses the Blue Jays signing of reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, his medical history, and where that leaves their bullpen, including Joe Biagini.

DUNEDIN, Fla. – The Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to sign reliever Seung-hwan Oh to a one-year contract that would guarantee him $2 million, an industry source told Sportsnet. The deal includes a 2019 vesting option.

Robert Murray of FanRag Sports first reported the agreement Sunday. The deal fortifies the Blue Jays’ bullpen with an experienced right-hander who could help bridge the gap to Roberto Osuna.

As recently as Feb. 6, Oh appeared to have an agreement with the Texas Rangers on a one-year, $2.75 million deal. But by February 17, a physical issue had reportedly derailed the deal with the 35-year-old Korean who’s nicknamed the Final Boss.

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Oh debuted with the Cardinals in 2016 after an 11-year professional career in Korea and Japan, and put together an impressive rookie season. In 79.2 innings, he posted a 1.92 ERA with 103 strikeouts compared to just 18 walks. By the end of the year, he was the closer in St. Louis.

In 2017, however, his swinging strike rate dropped and he struck out hitters less frequently as the opposition made more contact. Still, his fastball velocity remained steady around 93 m.p.h. and his season numbers were respectable: a 4.10 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 15 walks in 59.1 innings.

Oh joins join Osuna, Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes and Aaron Loup in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. On paper, that leaves two or perhaps three spots for a wide range of relievers including John Axford, Craig Breslow, Al Alburquerque, Tim Mayza, Matt Dermody and Carlos Ramirez.

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