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Dodgers sign Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu for $36 million

Dec 9, 2012, 5:27 PM EDT

Ryu Hyun-Jin Getty Images

For all of the bluster, there was never really any doubt this would get done: the Dodgers signed Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu just before the Sunday afternoon deadline.’s Jon Heyman reports that it’s a six-year, $36 million contract that includes an opt out after five years if Ryu tops a certain number of innings.

The Dodgers bid $25.7 million for Ryu’s rights last month after he was posted by his team in Korea. He went 9-9 with a 2.66 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 182 2/3 innings for Hanwha last season.

The 25-year-old Ryu can’t necessarily be penciled into a rotation that’s set to include Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Josh Beckett, with Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly coming back from injuries. The team also has Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang available as starters, but with a payroll set to come in around $250 million, those guys are expendable.

Ryu could open the year in the pen and then move into the rotation later, or it’s possible he’ll be needed right away if either Billingsley or Lilly requires additional rehab time. Given that Ryu hasn’t thrown 200 innings in a season since 2007, it might be for the best if he spends the first month or so working in relief.

Here’s some Korean footage of Ryu striking out 13 batters in a game:

  1. lostsok - Dec 9, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    The guy throws 137! (Okay, kilometers…)

    • Old Gator - Dec 10, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      Yeah, his fastball is a regular Taepodong III.

      Is it really safe to sign a Korean leftist?

  2. losangelesfan - Dec 9, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    The David Wells comparisons are appropriate.

  3. proudlycanadian - Dec 9, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Is Heyman going to be upset that you did not give him credit for breaking this story?

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 10, 2012 at 8:58 AM

      Doesn’t Matt do just that in, like, the 2nd paragraph?

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 10, 2012 at 10:56 AM

        not initially

  4. uyf1950 - Dec 9, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Almost $62MM total expense to sign this guy and not a days experience with a Major League baseball team. Am I the only one that thinks the $62MM could have been better put to use on a starting pitcher with MLB experience.

  5. spudchukar - Dec 9, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Matt, I doubt if the Dodgers consider Capuano expendable. My guess is they would part ways with Lilly, before Capuano.

    • lostsok - Dec 9, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      Capuano has experience in relief. He’d be a solid swing guy, and we need lefty arms in the pen anyway…

  6. ireportyoudecide - Dec 9, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    They might as well sign Hamilton at this point.

  7. iamjimmyjack - Dec 9, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Next up for Guggenheim, bringing an NFL team back to LA…thank you very much.

  8. iamjimmyjack - Dec 9, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    This kid’s breaking ball is sick. If he can throw his fastball 94, whoa, watch out. Pitching in Dodgers Stadium should make his numbers look great. I think he can match Yu Darvish’s rookie season numbers. Not saying he’s better than Yu at all, cuz hes not, but pitching in a big park will pad his stats big time.

  9. joemurder666 - Dec 9, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    $62 million yet No MLB experience !? #LADodgers better hope he won’t turn out to be a BUST. WOW, no #MLB experience. Ain’t AMERICA WONDERFUL !?! #ENJOY #GOD_BLESS_AMERICA $ $ $

    • stercuilus65 - Dec 9, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      Miss your Ritalin dose?

    • bravojawja - Dec 10, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      Looks like the Yahoo!s have begun to arrive.

  10. Minoring In Baseball - Dec 9, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Yeah, this is still a gamble for the Dodgers, and an expensive one to boot. There in a ‘win now’ mode, so if the gamble pays off they’ll be looking good.

    • stercuilus65 - Dec 9, 2012 at 7:35 PM

      with over 250 million a year in tv cash coming up they can afford it.

  11. BigBeachBall - Dec 9, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    I heard that baseball is huge in north korea…

  12. schlom - Dec 9, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    According to Cots: this puts the Dodgers at $211m for the 2013 season covering 20 players. So adding 5 players around the minimum will take it over $215m I’m guessing. The highest ever Yankee payroll was $213m in 2010 so they’ll be right at that depending on how much they have to eat to dump their extra starting pitchers.

  13. stercuilus65 - Dec 9, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Their are some other Asian players they are eyeing to sign… “Long Duk Dong”, “One Hung Low” and “Huge Genitals”

    • recoveringcubsfan - Dec 9, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      Is that last one a Kentucky Fried Movie reference? If so, good on ya.

  14. losanginsight - Dec 10, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Good too to have an owners living up to expectations and providing the funds that it takes to build a contending team. This signing and Zacks provide instant pitching depth to compete with anyone.

  15. manchestermiracle - Dec 10, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Not missing all the naysayers that said the Dodgers were sandbagging the rest of MLB over this guy. Looks like Ned not only found the house, but was able to get out of the car and sign Hyun-Jin to a contract….

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