Major League Baseball announced some big news as the Dodgers were officially declared the winning negotiating team for Korean left-handed pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin. The Hanwha Eagles, Ryu’s team, accepted the $25,737,737.33 million bid by the Dodgers. Now the Dodgers will have an exclusive 30-day period in which to negotiate a minor league or major league contract with his agent Scott Boras. If a deal is not agreed upon, Ryu would return to the Eagles, and a new bidding process would not be allowed until next year.
Ned Colletti had this to say about the opportunity to negotiate with Ryu:
“We are thrilled to have this exciting opportunity,” said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. “We have watched Ryu pitch for a long time, and he is another option to consider as we look to improve our team in 2013 and beyond. We’d like to thank the Hanwha Eagles and we look forward to meeting Ryu and beginning the negotiation process very soon.”
Ryu is seen as a future starting pitcher, and some see him being able to go straight to the big leagues. Ryu has played in Korea for seven seasons, and he was the first player to win both M.V.P. and Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. In his rookie year, Ryu won 18 games. The Eagles finished in last place this past season, and Ryu posted a career low 9 wins but did have a good 2.66 ERA.
The left-handed hurler is 6’1″ and 215 pounds. His fastball is in the low 90-mph range, and he has a curveball, deceptive changeup and a slider.
He’s a strikeout pitcher much like Clayton Kershaw, and he collected 210 Ks in 182 2/3 innings pitched this prior season. His career ERA is 2.80 ERA with a 98-52 record. He has 1,238 career strikeouts.
Some of the accomplishments Ryu has over his time in the Korean Baseball Organization:
- 7× KBO All-Star (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
- 5× KBO strikeout title (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012)
- 2× KBO ERA title (2006, 2010)
- 2× KBO Golden Glove (2006, 2010)
- KBO Win title (2006)
- Triple Crown (2006)
- KBO Rookie of the Year (2006)
- KBO MVP (2006)
Perhaps the 25-year old Ryu will follow the path of former Dodger and Korean pitcher Chan Ho Park who was the first South Korean-born Major League player back in 1994 when the Dodgers signed him.
The Dodgers continue to revive their interests in international spending, signing, and player development. They already signed Cuban defector Yasiel Puig to a seven-year $42 million contract this past summer, and they have hired expert management personnel to oversee international efforts. The negotiating bid for Ryu was the third highest for an Asian player behind the $51.7 million posted for Yu Darvish and $51.1 million for Daisuke Matsuzaka.
If the Dodgers sign Ryu, he could be slotted into the rotation and allow for the Dodgers to trade either Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, or Ted Lilly once or if he’s healthy. The Dodgers are still looking to trade for another starting pitcher or sign one via free agency this winter as well.
Could you imagine this rotation: