Chicago Cubs should have Korean relief ace Woo-Suk Go on their radar

Korean reliever Woo-Suk Go was recently made available and the Chicago Cubs should absolutely consider him for a high-strikeout late-inning arm.

Dominican Republic v Republic of Korea - Baseball - Olympics: Day 15
Dominican Republic v Republic of Korea - Baseball - Olympics: Day 15 / Koji Watanabe/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs will look wherever possible to find arms that can turn their bullpen into a force to be reckoned with in 2024. As they've shown with their connections to Japanese closer Yuki Matsui, that includes turning their gaze overseas and breaking with tradition to find multi-year relief help.

It's not just Japan the Cubs should be looking to though. Korea also has a promising relief ace who appears primed to make the jump to the major leagues - LG Twins All-Star Woo-Suk Go. The right-hander, who just so happens to be the brother-in-law of stud Korean outfielder Jung-Hoo Lee, was just made available to teams via the posting systems and he has all the makings of a quality MLB reliever, if not a closer. At only 25 years old, he could be effective for years to come too.

Go burst onto the scene in his age 20 season when he posted a 1.52 ERA with 35 saves in 71 innings, eventually going on to post a total of 139 saves through 2023 and a career 3.19 ERA. In his most recent season, he wasn't quite as sharp with a 3.68 ERA, but he was also sending batters back to the dugout constantly with an eye-popping career-high 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings. A ground ball percentage over 60% also gets you dreaming about how he'd play with Gold Glove winners Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner behind him.

Velocity is something the Cubs could also use at the back end and Go fits the bill. While he typically sits in the mid-90s with his fastball, he's been known to top out at 98 mph. With all of that combined, it's easy to envision him coming into games as an elite setup man to Adbert Alzolay alongside Julian Merryweather.

Go isn't without warts, though. In 2023, control was a problem as he issued 4.5 walks per nine innings. That's a career-high, but he's consistently sat on the uncomfortable end of the walk rate scale. In fairness, Merryweather, who was a workhorse for the Cubs in 2023, racked up a similar 4.5 BB/9 and 12.3 K/9. It's entirely possible that Go could settle into a similar groove, but it's still a point of concern to note if the team does decide to court the closer.

Woo-Suk Go makes perfect sense for the Cubs

However, none of that should be enough to scare off the Cubs from pursuing Go. They can afford to take big swings this year and it would make all the sense in the world to repair the bullpen with help from at least one of the two big overseas relief arms this offseason. Pair that with a signing of Robert Stephenson, who they're also rumored to be in on, along with another lefty and they'll have a far more formidable bunch heading into the season. Go shouldn't require an eye-watering contract either.

It's worth noting that the LG Twins will reportedly re-evaluate with Go when the posting amount becomes known, meaning it's possible he could be taken off the table if the money isn't there. The Cubs would still do well to check in and try to strike a deal that will bring them an arm that fits their current setup so well.

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