The Los Angeles Dodgers have added to their already exorbitant payroll yet again, this time by signing Korean left-handed pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin seconds before the 2 p.m. PT Sunday deadline. The deal will pay Ryu $36 million over six years, but includes an opt out for the southpaw after five years, according to Jon Heyman.
The Dodgers paid a $25.7 posting fee to Ryu's team in Korea, which granted them 30 days to negotiate with Ryu. Had the Dodgers and Ryu not agreed to a deal by Sunday's deadline, Ryu would have returned to Korea and the Dodgers would have gotten their posting fee back.
Ryu, 25, has spent seven years in the Korean Baseball Organization, where he compiled a 2.80 ERA and 1,238 strikeouts in 1,269 innings. Most scouts project him to be either a third starter in MLB or possibly a top reliever.
The Dodgers signed Ryu a day after signing Zach Greinke to the richest contract a right-handed pitcher has ever gotten. Their payroll obligations for 2012 was already well over $200 million and Ryu will only push that higher as the club's new ownership continues to spend money at will.
With Ryu and Greinke in the fold, the Dodgers now have eight starting pitching on their roster. Clayton Kershaw is the staff ace and Greinke will be the No. 2, while Josh Beckett profiles as the staff's third starter. That leaves Ryu for the fourth spot and either Aaron Harang or Chris Capuano to round out the rotation. Amazingly, that does not include Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly, who are both coming off of injuries so their status is up in the air, but are two quality arms if healthy to make the LA rotation even more formidable.