When the Los Angeles Dodgers inked Hyun-Jin Ryu for $36 million in December, they were signing their potential third starter. Josh Beckett may have some input in that, but Ryu could be a sensational MLB pitcher.
“We are excited to welcome Hyun-Jin Ryu to Los Angeles and the United States, continuing the tradition of Korean pitchers with the Dodger organization,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said at the time.
Ryu’s deal is for six years and he received a $5 million signing bonus. He is set to make $2.5 million this year, $3.5 million in 2014, $4.5 million in 2015 and top out at $7 million in 2016. The contract also contains an out-clause that kicks in after the fifth year if he has pitched 750 or more innings. That’s not bad for a man with no MLB experience.
But the Dodgers knew what they wanted and they went and signed him. Ryu is 6’2”, 215 lbs. and he has a fastball in the 95 MPH range. He also has a good curve ball, slider and a wicked changeup.
Playing for the South Korean national baseball team in the 2010 Asian Games, he became the first pitcher to strike out 17 batters in a nine inning game. That’s pretty impressive for a then 23-year-old. He is mature and knew he wanted to play in the big leagues. The Dodgers saw that in him and wanted to get the deal done.
Right now things are quiet in Dodger land about who the third starter will be. It could very well be Beckett, but Ryu may have something to say about that too.