Posted : 2012-11-11 16:52
Updated : 2012-11-11 16:52

Eagles' hurler eyes big deal

Ryu Hyun-jin
Hanwha Eagles pitcher
Scott Boras
LA Dodgers offer Hanwha $26 mil. for exclusive talks

By Kang Seung-woo

Hanwha Eagles left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin has the chance to join the Los Angeles Dodgers on a big contract.

"It's a dream come true," Ryu said after the deal was reported Saturday.

The Dodgers made the winning bid of $25.7 million (27.9 billion won) to negotiate a contract over a 30-day period with the 25-year-old pitcher, it was confirmed Sunday.

The offer is the fourth highest for an Asian player behind three Japanese pitchers ― $51.7 million for Yu Darvish, $51.1 million for Daisuke Matsuzaka and $26 million for Kei Igawa.

"We are thrilled to have this exciting opportunity," said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. "We are looking to improve our team in 2013 and beyond. We'd like to thank the Hanwha Eagles."

Estimates vary about the pay package Ryu may be offered.

Matsuzaka landed a six-year, $52 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2006, while Darvish signed a six-year, $60 million contract with the Texas Rangers last year.

The pitcher's agent is Scott Boras, who represents many top-dollar players in Major League Baseball (MLB).

Boras has reportedly said that Ryu could wait and earn free-agent status by playing two more years for Hanwha if the deal offered is considered too low as that would raise his value significantly.

"He's ready to pitch in the big leagues right now," Scott Boras told the Los Angeles Times. "He's not a developmental project."

Boras said Ryu, who stands 1.87 meters tall and weighs 98 kilograms, draws comparisons to the likes of Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox and Mark Buerhle of the Miami Marlins, who have recorded 85 and 174 wins, respectively.

"He has excellent fastball command and a quality changeup," he said.

It is said the Dodgers competed with the Rangers and Chicago Cubs for the right to speak to the Korean hurler.

The Dodgers want Ryu to boost a rotation that includes former Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and former World Series MVP Josh Beckett as well as Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly.

Four pitchers with Korean pro-league careers ― Lee Sang-hoon, Lim Chang-yong, Jin Phil-joong and Choi Hyang-nam ― have been posted for the Major League, but due to low bids, only Choi signed with the St. Louis Cardinals for $101 in 2009.

Bids of $600,000 and $650,000 were made for Lee and Lim respectively in 1998 and 2002, while Jin, who found no suitor in February 2002, received an offer of $25,000 10 months later, but they all refused.

Ryu joined the KBO with the Eagles in 2006 and made an immediate impact, becoming the first player to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season.

The pitcher, whose fastball is over 145 kilometers per hour, recorded double-digit victories in his first six seasons before settling for 9-9 this year with the league's bottom club, but he led the league in strikeouts ― his career fifth title ― and finished fourth in ERAs with a 2.66.

He is 98-52 with a 2.80 ERA and 1,238 strikeouts to 383 walks in seven KBO seasons.

If Ryu and the Dodgers fail to agree a deal, he will remain with the Korean club and cannot participate in another posting process until next year.

The Dodgers, a six-time World Series champion, are better known as the club for which Park Chan-ho, Korea's first export to MLB and Ryu's teammate at the Eagles this past season, pitched for between 1994 and 2001 and again in 2008. In addition, right-hander Seo Jae-weong and slugging infielder Choi Hee-seop also played for the club.

The Dodgers, headed by manager Don Mattingly, finished second in the National League West division at 86-76, eight games behind the San Francisco Giants, the eventual World Series champions.

관련 한글 기사

"류현진은 MLB서도 즉시 3선발급"

연봉협상 앞두고 일종의 가이드라인 제시

'2년 뒤 FA자격 얻어 재도전할 수도'…구단 압박

'류현진은 메이저리그 선발 로테이션에서 당장 제3선발급으로 충분한 선수다.'

미국프로야구 메이저리그(MLB) 진출이 임박한 류현진(25·한화이글스)의 연봉 협상을 앞두고 그의 에이전트가 몸값 끌어올리기에 나섰다.

포스팅스시템(비공개 경쟁입찰)으로 메이저리그 진출에 도전한 류현진은 최고 응찰액인 2천573만7천737달러 33센트(약 280억원)를 적어낸 로스앤젤레스 다저스 구단과 앞으로 한 달간 단독으로 입단 협상을 벌인다.

류현진의 에이전트인 스콧 보라스는 10일(현지시간) 로스앤젤레스 타임스에 실린 인터뷰에서 '류현진은 당장 빅리그에서 던질 준비가 돼 있다'고 강조하고 '육성 프로젝트가 아니다'고 밝혔다.

'슈퍼 에이전트'로 통하는 보라스는 선발 자원인 류현진을 다저스가 어떻게 활용하길 원하느냐는 이번에 바로 입단계약서에 사인할지, 아니면 한화에서 2년을 더 뛰며 완전한 FA(자유계약선수) 자격을 얻은 뒤 재도전할지를 결정할 요소 중 하나라고 말했다.

보라스는 '지금 당장 뛰어드는 것과 FA가 될 때를 기다리는 것 중에 어느 것이 더 나은 사업상의 결정이겠는가'라고 되물으며 다저스 구단을 은근히 압박했다.

그는 또 '만약 일본에서 던졌다면 포스팅 금액에서도 큰 차이가 있었을 것'이라며 류현진이 상대적으로 덜 주목받는 한국 리그에서 뛰어 저평가됐다고 주장했다.

류현진을 존 레스터(보스터 레드삭스), 마크 벌리(마이애미 말린스)와 비교하기도 한 보라스는 '류현진은 패스트볼 제구력이 빼어나고 체인지업도 수준급'이라고 장점을 부각시켰다.

보라스는 류현진이 프로 시절 내내 등번호 99번을 달았다는 점도 지적했다.

다저스에서 마지막으로 99번을 단 선수는 강타자 매니 라미레스로, 그 또한 보라스의 '고객'이었다. (서울=연합뉴스)

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