In what has easily been the most heated bidding war that I just found out existed today, Jon Heyman reports that a mystery team has paid $25.7M for the right to negotiate with 25-year old Korean LHP Ryu Hyun-Jin from the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). The official winning bid of $25,737,737, the highest ever for a Korean player, may seem like a weirdly specific number until you learn from MLBTR (and a lesser extent, Yahoo Answers) that the numbers 3 and 7 are considered lucky in Korean culture.
The mystery team has 30 days to negotiate with Scott Boras for a major league contract for the young lefty, and if no such agreement is reached, Ryu will not be available to be posted for bidding again until November 2013. Multiple sources have speculated at who the winning bidder may be, with the Dodgers, Rangers, and Cubs all being named as likely suitors.
Ryu was a 2nd overall pick in 2006 and immediately made history, winning Rookie Of The Year and MVP straight out of high school at just 19-years old, going 18-6 with a 2.23 ERA and 204 strikeouts. He led the KBO in strikeouts 5 times in his 7 seasons, capping his Korean baseball career with a 98-52 record, 2.80 ERA and 1238 strikeouts to 383 walks. He also tasted success internationally, as a part of the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal winning club, and 2009 runner-up in the World Baseball Classic.
According to Yonhap News Agency, Ryu can touch 93 with his fastball, and uses a change and slider as out pitches. But who needs words when we can just post the first video we find with his name in it on youtube?
Did you learn anything from that? I sure did. I learned that Korean umpires are on some never-before-seen stuff when it comes to punch outs. Straight down? I’d never even considered that as a possibility. Also, despite looking like every single chubby kid you played little league with, Ryu Hyun-Jin is coming over at a relatively younger age than most imports have in the past. By the looks of the suitors, at least one deep-pocketed team thinks he’s going to be slotted in as a piece to help round out a robust rotation.
MLB confirms via Twitter that the Hanwha Eagles have accepted the Los Angeles Dodgers bid to negotiate with Ryu Hyun-Jin.
BREAKING: Hanwha Eagles of Korea Baseball Organization have accepted @dodgers bid for negotiating rights to 25-year-old LHP Ryu Hyun-Jin.
— MLB (@MLB) November 10, 2012
The Dodgers will have 30 day window to reach an agreement with Ryu.