Woo-Suk Go (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
The Padres are turning to Asia to fill their bullpen needs.
The Padres have signed Korean closer Woo-Suk Go to a two-year, $4.5 million contract with a mutual option for 2026, the team announced Wednesday. The signing comes less than two weeks after the Padres signed Japanese closer Yuki Matsui to a five-year, $28 million contract that includes opt-outs after the third and fourth years.
Matsui and Go were two of the premier closers in Asia in recent years. Matsui, a 28-year-old lefthander, notched 236 saves in nine seasons as Rakuten’s closer and led the Pacific League in saves three times. He went 2-3, 1.57 with a career-high 39 saves for the Golden Eagles in 2023 and recorded 72 strikeouts against just 13 walks in 57.1 innings.
Go, a 25-year-old righthander, had 139 saves over the last five seasons for LG Twins in the Korea Baseball Organization. He went 3-8, 3.89 with 15 saves in an injury-shortened 2023 season but returned to close out the final game of the Korean Series. He posted a 1.48 ERA with a KBO-leading 42 saves in 2022.
Matsui and Go will help fill out a Padres bullpen that lost closer Josh Hader and late-inning relievers Nick Martinez, Luis Garcia and Scott Barlow in free agency. Lefthanders Tim Hill (non-tendered) and Ray Kerr (traded) also will not return from last year’s team.
Here are scouting reports on Matsui and Go, and what they project to contribute to the Padres’ bullpen.
Yuki Matsui, LHP
Born: Oct. 30, 1995. B-T: L-L. HT: 5-8. WT: 163.
Track Record: Matsui first rose to prominence in high school when he set a Koshien summer tournament record with 22 strikeouts in a game. He was drafted in the first round of the Nippon Professional Baseball draft the following year and debuted in NPB at 18. After beginning his career as a starter, Matsui shifted to relief and became one of Japan’s most decorated closers. He recorded 236 saves in nine seasons as Rakuten’s closer, led the Pacific League in saves three times and won a gold medal with Japan at the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Scouting Report: Matsui is undersized at 5-foot-8, 163 pounds and throws with maximum effort in short stints. His average fastball sits 91-93 mph and touches 95 with riding life up in the zone. His diving 87-90 mph splitter is an above-average pitch that gets ground balls from both lefhanded and righthanded hitters. Matsui…