LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers were the winning bidder for Korean left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, Major League Baseball announced on Saturday.
The Dodgers’ bid, reportedly for about $25.7 million, was accepted by Ryu’s team, the Hanwha Eagles. The Dodgers have an exclusive 30-day window to negotiate a contract with the pitcher and his agent, Scott Boras. If no deal is reached, Ryu would return to the Eagles and could not participate in another posting process until next year.
“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.”
Presumably, Ryu would satisfy Colletti’s expressed desire to add a front-line pitcher to a starting rotation that already includes Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly.
The signing of Ryu would allow a trade — most likely of Harang or Capuano — once the team is satisfied that Lilly had recovered from shoulder surgery or Billingsley had avoided Tommy John elbow surgery after suffering a partially torn ligament.
Ryu, a seven-year veteran, was the first player to win MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season in Korea. An 18-game winner as a rookie, he averaged 15 wins per year until this past season, when the Eagles finished last and Ryu had only nine wins, along with a 2.66 ERA.
The 6-1, 215-pound Ryu is a strikeout pitcher with a fastball in the low-90s, a changeup and a slider. He helped Korea to the finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic and the gold medal in the 2008 Olympic Games.
Ryu struck out 210 over 182 2/3 innings this past season and has a career 2.80 ERA.
The bid for Ryu, which was actually $25,737,737.33, ranks third among posting bids submitted for Asian players, behind $51.7 million for Yu Darvish and $51.1 million for Daisuke Matsuzaka.
“We believe this figure is acceptable for the rights to the top ace in South Korea,” the Eagles said on their official website, according to Agence France-Presse.
“I’ve made a step forward for a dream come true,” Ryu was quoted as saying on the site, according to AFP.
The Dodgers, after nearly a decade of de-emphasizing international players, have re-established their presence in a big way this year, most notably with the $42 million signing of Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig.
Chan Ho Park became the first South Korean-born player in the Major Leagues when he signed with the Dodgers in 1994.