Will these Dodgers ever stop spending?
The rags-to-riches franchise’s latest expenditure was a posting fee of more than $25.7 million that won them the right to negotiate with a South Korean left-hander who has never set foot on a major league field.
The Dodgers might have to spend another $25.7 million to sign seven-time Korean league All-Star Ryu Hyun-jin. They have a 30-day window to negotiate a deal with Ryu, who is represented by agent Scott Boras. If an agreement isn’t reached, the Dodgers will be refunded their posting fee.
By out-bidding teams such as the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers for the right to persuade Ryu to leave his homeland, the Dodgers made their second significant move in the international market since they were purchased by Guggenheim Baseball.
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.
Ryu, 25, is 6-foot-2. He is said to throw in the low-90s
He broke into professional baseball with the Hanwha 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.
Ryu is 98-52 with a 2.80 earned-run average in seven seasons in Korea. He 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.
Whether the Dodgers view Ryu as a starter or reliever isn’t known.
The Dodgers have had three Korean major leaguers in their history: pitchers Chan Ho Park and Jae Weong Seo, and first baseman Hee Sop Choi.