Dodgers sign South Korean lefty Ryu

December 9, 2012

The Los Angeles Dodgers concluded a busy — and expensive — weekend by signing yet another starting pitcher, South Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin (Ree-YOO He-YUN jin).

The Dodgers agreed to a six-year, $36 million contract with Ryu shortly before Sunday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline, according to major league sources. The window to sign Ryu was established last month after the Dodgers won his negotiating rights with a $25.7 million bid.

When combining Ryu’s contract and posting fee — and the six-year, $147 million contract to which Zack Greinke agreed late Saturday — the Dodgers have spent $208.7 million on pitching this weekend.

The lavish 24-hour stretch was the latest demonstration of the Dodgers’ financial might under the new Guggenheim Partners ownership. Their current payroll commitments are more than $210 million for the 2013 season alone — roughly twice this year’s Opening Day payroll.


The Dodgers’ new local television rights deal, which reports say could be worth $6 billion, is seen by many as the driving force behind the big-spending offseason.

Now, general manager Ned Colletti is in the rare position of having rotation depth to trade. He has eight pitchers for five spots: Greinke, Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang. Capuano and Harang are viewed as the most likely trade candidates.

Billingsley and Lilly are coming off injuries, so it’s possible Colletti will wait until they demonstrate their health in spring training before making a move with Capuano or Harang.

Ryu, 25, had been pitching for the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization. He starred for South Korea in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

“Because of the limitations on international amateur signings and the draft, this (market for international professionals) is the only way a club can flex its muscle other than major league free agency,” Ryu’s agent, Scott Boras, said in an interview last month. “Getting a major league-ready left-hander who throws 92 to 95 mph is a rare find in this marketplace. I give the Dodgers credit.”