The Dodgers continued their Wheel of Fortune-type spending spree, as they have won the rights to Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin. The Dodgers paid a reported $25.7 million dollars to the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization for the rights to negotiate with the 25-year old left-hander.
The Dodgers have 30 days to sign Ryu to a contract, and interestingly Major League Baseball notes that the contract can be a major or minor league contract. Though it seems unlikely that the team would spend $25.7 million to sign a pitcher to a minor league deal.
“Today the Los Angeles Dodgers won the rights to negotiate with South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin and we are thrilled to have this exciting opportunity,” general manager Ned Colletti said in a release. “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 pitched seven years in the KBO and lead the league in strikeouts five times. In seven years with the Eagles, Ryu was 98-52 with a 2.80 ERA, with 1,238 strikeouts in 1,269 innings. He was an All-Star in all seven seasons in the KBO.
He pitched for South Korea in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, including pitching in relief in both the semifinal and final at Dodger Stadium, against Venezuela and Japan, respectively.