LAS VEGAS -- The Dodgers were curiously silent on Friday night as various reports surfaced about which teams didn’t place the winning $25.7-million posting fee for the right to negotiate with South Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin.
The Chicago Cubs weren’t the team, according to published reports. The Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and Angels weren’t either.
That led to widespread speculation in the baseball industry that the free-spending Dodgers were the team that outbid everyone.
Dodgers officials were non-responsive or pleaded ignorance.
The identity of the team that won the auction isn’t expected to be known until Ryu’s Korean league team, the Hanwha Eagles, officially accept the top bid. That could happen as early as Saturday, according to a person familiar with the process.
If the bid is accepted, the winning team will have a 30-day window to negotiate a contract with Ryu, who is represented by agent Scott Boras. If a deal can’t be reached, the team will be refunded its posting fee.
Ryu, 25, is a seven-time Korean league All-Star.
He is 6-foot-2 and was described by one person familiar with him as having “David Wells’ frame but in shape.” His fastball is said to sit in the low-90s.
Ryu broke into professional baseball with the Eagles at 19. That season, he won the triple crown of pitching. He was named the league’s most valuable player and rookie of the year.
He is 98-52 with a 2.80 earned-run average in seven seasons in Korea. He is a seven-time All-Star and has won the league’s strikeout title five times.
He pitched twice at Dodger Stadium in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, as he appeared in the semifinal and final as a reliever. South Korea was the runner-up of that tournament to Japan.
Ryu was also a member of South Korea’s gold-medal-winning team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
The first Korean player to play in the major leagues, All-Star Chan Ho Park, pitched for the Dodgers.
When the Dodgers were purchased by Guggenheim Baseball in the spring, the team’s top executive said reestablishing the franchise’s overseas presence was a top priority.
In June, the Dodgers signed 21-year-old Cuban defector Yasiel Puig to a seven-year, $42-million contract.
The Dodgers are also suitors for two hard-throwing pitchers from Japan: veteran closer Kyuji Fujikawa and highly-coveted 18-year-old prospect Shohei Otani.