Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dodgers post winning bid for Korean left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu

The Dodgers were rumored to be interested in Hyun-Jin Ryu, and that rumor turned out to be true. The team posted $25.7 million for the exclusive negotiating rights for the Korean lefty. The sides now have 30 days to agree to a major or minor-league deal.

Ryu, 25, will turn 26 in March and the Dodgers didn't post more money than any of us will ever know just to sign him to a minor-league deal. He'll sign a major league deal and be inserted into the rotation.

There's no great model for predicting his contract, but I'd say a 4-year deal with an average annual value of $5 to $8 million isn't out of the question.

Mike Petriello did a great job of informing the masses of Ryu in a post on Friday.
"That all said, who is Ryu? He turns 26 in March, and has been a Korean All-Star in each of his seven seasons there. In five of those years, with the exception of 2008 & 2011, he led the league in strikeouts; he’s also notable for having gone 8 1/3 innings in helping Korea to beat Cuba for the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics."
He follows that up with links and excerpts from three or four different scouting reports on Ryu.

Here's a video from April of him striking out 13 batters in a game.

Keith Law, to no one's surprise, sees him as a reliever. But he says that a lot, so take that for what it's worth.

Chad Moriyama is a little skeptical of Ryu's ability, but said he thinks he could adjust to the majors.
"A 25-year-old Tommy John survivor, the Dodgers have to be expecting him to start, and reports have him sitting between 87-92 mph with two solid average breaking balls in a curve and a slider, and a plus out-pitch in his change-up. Even the reports that like him pencil him in as a #4 or #5 type, but the Dodgers will end up paying him like a #3, and I think his profile could reach that status as he adjusts to the league"
My take? It's always nice to add a quality starting pitcher, but at this point, he's not really much better than Chris Capuano. It could be argued he isn't much better because Ryu is an unknown at this point. After Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers have a bunch of No. 3, 4 and 5 guys, and Ryu is no exception.

I'd like him more if his fastball sat consistently in the low-90s rather than the upper-80s and low-90s. His changeup seems to be his money pitch. If he can lock down one of the other pitches -- his slider or curveball -- I'd feel better about him being more than just a back-of-the-rotation starter.

There's also the question of where he fits in among the Dodgers' top prospects. I'm going to publish my Top 50 hopefully before the end of the year, but I'd say he's easily a Top 10 guy, but closer to No. 5 than No. 10.

The Dodgers still need to land a true No. 2 to support Kershaw. That guy is either Zack Greinke or James Shields. Before this signing, there wasn't much room in the Dodgers' 2013 rotation. With everyone expecting the team to land a legitimate second starter, the Dodgers will have to trade a starter or two -- a luxury not many teams can claim. Expect Capuano and/or Aaron Harang to be dealt this winter. But I'll have more on that in a future post.

Side note: Ryu is my favorite character in the Street Fighter series. It means absolutely nothing in the context of this; just a self-serving aside by yours truly.

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