Ryu Hyun-jin is only 25 but has already been pitching on the international… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
Ryu Hyun-jin could immediately be a No. 3 starter in a major league rotation, according to his agent.
“He’s ready to pitch in the big leagues right now,” Scott Boras said. “He’s not a developmental project.”
The Dodgers bid $25.7 million to win a league-wide auction for the right to negotiate with Ryu, a seven-time South Korean All-Star. Ryu and the Dodgers have 30 days to reach an agreement.
Ryu intends to be a starting pitcher, according to Boras. How the Dodgers want to use Ryu will be one of the factors he will consider when deciding whether to sign with the Dodgers or return to the Hanwha Eagles.
“We have to strategically plan out his career,” Boras said.
Among the considerations: compensation and when Ryu can become a free agent.
Because Ryu is only 25, he could sign a shorter contract that would allow him to enter the free-agent market while still in the prime of his career. Or he could remain in Korea for two more seasons, after which he would be a free agent and wouldn’t be subjected to the posting system.
“Is it a good business decision to make the jump now or wait for free agency?” Boras asked.
Boras argued that his client was undervalued by some teams because he pitched in the relatively obscure Korean league.
“If this pitcher pitched in Japan, this would have been a much different posting fee,” Boras said.
Boras described Ryu as 6-foot-2 with a wide frame comparable to the likes of Jon Lester and Mark Buerhle.
“He has excellent fastball command and a quality changeup,” Boras said.
Boras pointed out that throughout his professional career, Ryu has worn No. 99.
The Dodgers’ last No. 99?
Manny Ramirez, who was also represented by Boras.