Dodgers Report: Ryu Hyun-jin

Quick take: Dodgers 3, Mets 2

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
1:20
PM PT
Andre Ethier hasn’t exactly killed left-handed pitching this season, but he is showing signs of improving the area of his game that has always been the weak spot.

Ethier came up with a clutch RBI single off lefty Scott Rice in the eighth inning of a 3-2 Dodgers win over the New York Mets at Citi Field on Thursday. That saved the Dodgers the embarrassment of what was a brutal offensive performance for most of the game.

Ethier is batting .264 against lefties this season and .211 against righties.

A two-run eighth sent the Dodgers home after a 3-3 road trip to Baltimore and New York, but it came too late to get lefty Ryu Hyun-Jin his third win. Ryu pitched seven strong innings, allowing just three hits and striking out eight batters.

“He really used his changeup very effectively. His slider is very good," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Ryu when speaking to reporters afterward. "We had a couple of opportunities and we couldn’t push anything over.”

The Dodgers struggled against one of the toughest pitchers in the league, Matt Harvey, on Wednesday and followed that up with an anemic performance against one of the league’s worst-performing pitchers Thursday. In his first four games, Mets starter Jeremy Hefner, 27, had a 1.786 WHIP and had allowed a league-high seven home runs. He entered Thursday with a 5.35 career ERA.

Only two Dodgers made any headway against Hefner. Juan Uribe had three walks and Matt Kemp had two of the Dodgers’ three hits off him.

Kemp has had more hits on this six-game road trip than he had in the first 15 games of the Dodgers’ season. His rebirth started slowly, with some soft hits in Baltimore, but he seems to have regained his stroke. He homered for the first time Wednesday and was 2-for-3 with a run scored and RBI Thursday.

Kemp made a poor base running decision in the seventh inning, when he attempted to tag up and advance on Ethier’s fly ball to right field. Marlon Byrd threw Kemp out by about six feet.

With Brandon League struggling, Kenley Jansen’s performance will raise the question of who should be the Dodgers’ closer. Jansen allowed the first two batters to reach base in the eighth inning, but got out of the jam. He struck out Byrd with a letter-high 95-mph fastball to end it.

League blew his first save Wednesday and allowed a solo home run to Ike Davis leading off the ninth Thursday. He got through the inning without further trouble while picking up his sixth save.

GMs already checking in on Dodgers pitching

December, 10, 2012
12/10/12
4:23
PM PT
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti was asked how he would handle this sudden glut in starting pitching, when he remarked, “We’ll have some juggling to do if we keep it where it’s at.”

But he may not have to keep all that many balls in the air much longer. Colletti acknowledged he has already had a couple of conversations with rival GMs about the possibility of dealing one or more of the eight veteran starting pitchers the Dodgers could take with them to spring training.

The team signed Korean left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu to a six-year, $36 million contract Sunday and is expected to finalize a six-year, $147 deal with former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke soon.

That means the Dodgers' rotation could look something like this: Clayton Kershaw, Greinke, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett and Ryu. Depending on how Billingsley and Ted Lilly come back from arm injuries, the team will have at least one -- and maybe three -- starting pitchers to trade between now and Opening Day.

Lilly might prove difficult to trade because he only pitched eight games last year before a shoulder injury shut him down. Capuano and Harang should draw some interest because they're both coming off solid seasons, are in the final years of their contracts and make reasonable salaries.

The Dodgers spent the first two-and-a-half months this off-season on the wrong side of a seller's market. Now, they could be in position to address their needs -- bench help, another left-handed reliever and a catcher -- via trade. They could also elect to replenish a farm system thinned by trades and financial constraints in recent years.

Having too much starting pitching is literally the best problem a major-league baseball team can have.

"You'd always rather have more than less," Colletti said.

So far, Dodgers are chasing moving targets

December, 7, 2012
12/07/12
11:07
AM PT
While the Dodgers were working out a three-year contract extension with reliever Brandon League earlier this offseason, they started talking to lefty reliever Randy Choate about whether he, too, wanted to return.

The discussions with Choate dragged all the way into the early days of this week's winter meetings. The Dodgers finally declined when it became clear Choate wanted three years and about $2.5 million per season, a hefty price tag for a one-out lefty. Choate got that deal instead from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Simultaneously, the Dodgers began discussing a deal with the agent for prized right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke. They were also exchanging ideas with potential trade partners that could land them the top-of-the-rotation starter they want. They began hammering out parameters of a deal for Korean lefty Ryu Hyun-jin, trying to bridge a canyon-sized gap between their valuation and that of agent Scott Boras.

For several slow-paced weeks and four hectic days, there was plenty of motion. And no action.

If Dodgers fans are lamenting their team's lack of progress so far this offseason, though, they have company. Fans of virtually every other team have seen mostly marginal and, in some cases, baffling moves. The market remains stuck in a strange limbo for now, with teams and agents waiting for Greinke and Josh Hamilton to find homes and establish the market for the high-end talent.

So for now, the transactions involve names like Choate, Jeff Keppinger and Ben Revere -- not exactly sending fans scurrying for their season-ticket applications.

"It's ... how do I describe this?" said Boras, rarely at a loss for words. "A laissez-faire market. The way it works is, it's like putting on your pants. It starts bottom up."

While Dodgers fans haven't yet opened a present, there are still a bunch of big, sparkly toys left on the shelves. The Dodgers keep shopping. Maybe Greinke prefers to pitch elsewhere and he's just waiting for the Texas Rangers' offer to enter the same neighborhood as the Dodgers? Or maybe he's just waiting for Texas -- or somebody else -- to come up so he can leverage up a Dodgers' package?

The Dodgers aren't just sitting there, waiting for Greinke to call them. General manager Ned Colletti continues to work toward something with other teams and representatives. Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, R.A. Dickey, Ryu or James Shields might be consolation prizes (over the long term) compared to Greinke, but they would all help the Dodgers field a better team in 2013.

So stay tuned. The hot stove stays lit a little bit longer for Dodgers fans, and that's not a bad way to spend your Web-surfing time.

"There’s this artificial deadline that gets set at the end of the Rule 5 draft, like nothing else is ever going to happen," Colletti said. "Then, at the beginning of spring training -- nothing else is going to happen. Then, who’s going to make the Opening Day roster? Oh geez, is this the 25 guys we’re going to see for the next 162 games and six months?

"Everything’s fluid. It’s always fluid."

As many of the baseball people -- scouts, executives, agents and writers -- shuffled off to catch their flights at the Nashville airport Thursday evening, there was a duet strumming and singing to country music at one of the airport lounges. Most of the songs were about connections lost, but at least a couple of them had happy endings.

Is the field narrowing for Zack Greinke?

December, 5, 2012
12/05/12
5:44
PM PT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The best thing to happen to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Day 3 of the winter meetings was what one of their competitors did -- or won't do -- and that's not uncommon this time of year.

The Los Angeles Angels reached agreement with Joe Blanton, reportedly for two years and $15 million, and that -- plus their trade for Atlanta's Tommy Hanson -- would seem to indicate they're moving away from a mega-deal with free agent Zack Greinke. The floor, at least for now, appears to be a two-team dance between the Dodgers and Texas Rangers.

Not that Greinke's agent doesn't continue to wait to see if others want to cut in.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti met with Greinke's agent, Casey Close on Wednesday and, unlike the day before, Colletti wouldn't say whether he has extended an offer. That lack of comment in itself could be meaningful.

"I can't tell you we have any movement, I can't tell you we're close to anything," Colletti said. "A lot of groups, including some of the bigger names out there, are still doing due diligence and not necessarily in a mood to do anything."

The Dodgers have shelved some of their other business to concentrate on starting pitching. On Wednesday that meant one of the pitchers they were considering for their bullpen signed elsewhere. The Dodgers discussed re-signing lefty Randy Choate, but shied away when Choate asked for a three-year deal and a hefty raise. He got both by signing Wednesday with the St. Louis Cardinals for $7.5 million.

The Dodgers also have made no appreciable progress in signing Korean lefty Ryu Hyun-jin, who will return to pitch in Korea if he doesn't come to an agreement by 2 p.m. Sunday. Agent Scott Boras said he made a counteroffer to the Dodgers of shorter duration. But asked if that got the sides any closer, Colletti said, "No, we just got closer to Sunday."

Other notes

The Dodgers are looking to add a catcher before spring training, but Colletti indicated they're setting their sights on backup types who could offer competition to rookie Tim Federowicz. The Dodgers are content with A.J. Ellis as their No. 1 catcher.

Some have speculated that Greinke would prefer not to pitch in Los Angeles because of the size of the city and the media attention, but Colletti said he hasn't been told by any free agents that they don't want to pitch in L.A.

"We're not going to try to convince anybody this is a great place and a great city and a great ownership," Colletti said. "If they don't want to be part of it, we're not going to convince them."

Day 3 progress: Scant

Wish list: Starting pitcher(s); left-handed reliever; fourth outfielder; catcher

Dodgers make an offer, but have to wait

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
6:25
PM PT


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- On Tuesday afternoon, Magic Johnson tweeted the following: "I hope my Dodgers will be able to acquire some pitchers at the winter meetings."

Sorry, Magic. Things aren't exactly sailing along in that regard.

General manager Ned Colletti described Tuesday as "very quiet," and even admitted it was a bit dreary in the Dodgers' executive suite. The only tangible progress, if you can call it that, was that the Dodgers made a formal offer to agent Scott Boras for Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin. Colletti exchanged a couple of text messages with the agent for Zack Greinke.

In both cases, Colletti said the two sides are far apart.

"It appears that everybody we have some interest in is going to take a methodical path," Colletti said.

Typically, Asian players sign for somewhere in the neighborhood of the posting fee the team pays to negotiate with them. The latest example was Yu Darvish, who signed for $56 million with the Texas Rangers after the club posted $51 million to negotiate with him. Boras, however, appears to view Ryu's value on par with No. 3-caliber major league starters, who have been signing for far more than the $25 million the Dodgers bid for Ryu.

Of the initial offer, Colletti said, "Predictably, it fell a tad short."

The belief by many baseball people in the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel on Tuesday was that, once Greinke's agent has fielded other teams' offers, the Dodgers will come in with the highest bid. Colletti didn't sound in any particular hurry, saying, "We're patient."

If it doesn't happen, the Dodgers appear to have more fallback options than they did a few weeks ago. In addition to the glacial progress with Ryu, they learned that Chad Billingsley has begun his normal winter throwing program, raising hope that he could avoid Tommy John surgery.

"Him being able to begin a throwing program is a great sign," Colletti said. "Is it the sign that says, 'Hey, we can go home on Wednesday?' No."

The Dodgers have also had trade talks with other teams here, including some that involve multiple teams. The latest name to surface in trade rumors is the Mets' R.A. Dickey, the reigning Cy Young winner, but the Dodgers have also been linked to Tampa Bay's James Shields and Pittsburgh's Joel Hanrahan.

The Dodgers also would like to add a fourth outfielder and a left-handed reliever, but those aren't exactly at the top of their agenda at the moment.

"I think those will be slower," Colletti said. "Not that this is going at a rapid pace."

Other notes

The Dodgers, who have a roster filled with players from far-flung locales, could lose several players for a big chunk of spring training as they compete in the World Baseball Classic. But the name that would cause the most consternation in the team's offices if he pitches for Team USA is pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who missed a couple of starts late last year with a hip ailment.

Colletti said he wouldn't stand in Kershaw's way if he wants to pitch in the WBC.

“It depends on how he feels, both about doing it and how he feels physically," Colletti said.

Day 2 progress: Minimal.

Wish list: Starting pitcher or two, left-handed reliever, fourth outfielder.

Dodgers are the belles of the ball

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
6:00
PM PT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Baseball's winter meetings this year are taking place at the largest non-casino resort in the United States.

It's called the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, and it's filled with kitschy features like fake ponds and waterfalls; plastic jungle plants; and a massive Christmas tree display on the front lawn with enough lights to illuminate a pro football stadium.

And there's one other prop here for the next few days: the Los Angeles Dodgers' front office.

While the Dodgers do have legitimate business to conduct here -- including signing a front-line starting pitcher, they hope -- rumors of their involvement for some players have been greatly exaggerated. Since everyone in baseball knows the Dodgers' owners are flush and about to get flusher, agents have helped fan the perception that the Dodgers are among the teams pursuing their players.

"We're in on so many players, we may need two or three teams," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti joked with reporters. "We've gone from convincing players to come here to being the ones everyone is trying to convince."

Colletti confirmed to reporters that the Dodgers have yet to make any offers on starting pitchers, which ESPNLosAngeles.com first reported last week. That could change in the next few days, of course, and probably will.

One of the reasons the Dodgers made the costliest trade in baseball history last August, acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto and virtually all of their salaries, was because they viewed this class of free agents as relatively weak. So, they probably will make noise this week, but some of the things you hear will be agents banging pots and pans together.

Other notes

Colletti said the pace of negotiations to sign Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin has not been conducive to getting a deal done by Sunday's deadline (after which Ryu would return to pitch in Korea). But don't read too much into that. It's common for agent Scott Boras to take negotiations into the final hours. When Jered Weaver came out of Long Beach State, he held out an entire year, on Boras' advice, before signing a couple of hours before the deadline.

If the Dodgers do not sign Ryu, it could affect the rest of their offseason plans, forcing them to look at acquiring two healthy starting pitchers. Ted Lilly (shoulder) and Chad Billingsley (elbow) are questionable for next season.

Day 1 progress: Little, apparently

Wish list: Starting pitcher, left-handed reliever, reserve outfielder

Winter meetings shopping list: Starting pitcher(s)

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
12:23
PM PT
The Dodgers are still mapping out their strategy for fortifying their starting rotation and, according to a source, have not made offers to any free agent pitchers yet. They'll likely begin that process next week in face-to-face meetings at the winter meetings.

It's likely the Dodgers will add two starting pitchers, since Ted Lilly might not pitch next season due to a shoulder injury and Chad Billingsley is a major question mark coming off two stints on the disabled list with elbow pain.

But who are the likeliest names to pitch at Dodger Stadium in 2013?

Reports of the Dodgers' interest in Zack Greinke may have been slightly exaggerated. Greinke's 6.48 post-season ERA is a bit of a concern and his reclusive personality may not set the right tone for a team that lacks post-season experience. Greinke's overall resume, however, might fit the bill of what the Dodgers are looking for -- a No. 2 starter -- better than some of the other available pitchers.

It might come down to whether the Dodgers are willing to take on the risk of what might prove to be a record contract for a right-handed pitcher.

They have inquired about Kyle Lohse, a source confirmed. Lohse had the best 2012 ERA of any of the free agent starters (2.86) and relies on a sinker rather than a hard, four-seam fastball, so age shouldn't be a major concern. At 34, he wouldn't command the six-year deal it might take to land Greinke or even Anibal Sanchez and he answered some questions by going 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA in four post-season starts last month.

It appears the Dodgers' strategy will be to try to land one of the established major leaguers (perhaps Greinke or Lohse) some time during the winter meetings, then turn their attention to serious negotiations with agent Scott Boras to sign Korean left-handed Ryu Hyun-jin. They have until Dec. 10 to get a deal done or Ryu would return to pitch in his native Korea. Thus far, the Dodgers have had only preliminary discussions with Boras about Ryu.

Before the 2009 season, Derek Lowe signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Atlanta Braves, which might prove a good starting point for the Lohse negotiations since they're both veteran sinkerballers. Ryu won't get a deal that approximates Yu Darvish's six-year, $56 million contract with the Texas Ranges. For argument's sake, let's say it takes $25 million to keep him in America.

The Dodgers could still get two starting pitchers for less than two-thirds of what it would cost to sign one, Greinke. Don't be surprised if that's the route they take in the coming weeks.

 

 

Timing is everything with Ryu Hyun-jin

November, 14, 2012
11/14/12
1:33
PM PT
The other day, someone asked general manager Ned Colletti whether he thought Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin could slide into the No. 2 or 3 spot in the Dodgers' rotation next season.

"Not sure," Colletti said.

Added team president Stan Kasten: "Now, remember, everything he says, Scott Boras is going to read."

Bidding $25.7 million for the rights to talk to Ryu is only the first step in acquiring him and maybe not the most difficult. The Dodgers have until Dec. 10 to work out a contract with Boras. If not, Ryu returns to the Korean league and the Dodgers get their posting fee back.

Lucky for the Dodgers, baseball's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., wrap up Dec. 6, meaning the Dodgers can survey the rest of the pitching talent available to them before making a final call on Ryu. Boras tends to take negotiations to the final hour anyway, so it works out well for both sides.

Ryu, 25, is a riskier option than a major-league free agent because his numbers were posted against Korean professional talent, rather than major-league talent. But he could also prove a relative bargain, believe it or not. There has been speculation that Zack Greinke could command a contract of $120 million or more and even second-tier starters are said to be asking for $15 million a year or more.

The Dodgers didn’t go into the posting process blind, far from it. Their assistant general manager for scouting, Logan White, had been following him for years and Bob Engle, the recently hired top international scout, had seen him pitch multiple times while working for the Seattle Mariners.

Ryu is a left-handed pitcher with a 90-mph fastball and an excellent changeup. He's listed as 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds. Pressed for a major-league comparison, Engle came up with David Wells.

"I'm not associating his ability to David Wells', but he is someone who can definitely come in and be a contributor with a major-league club almost immediately," Engle said. "He's big, somewhat on the rotund side."

Signing Ryu also wouldn't hurt the Dodgers' efforts at rebuilding fan loyalty. Los Angeles has the largest Korean population of any city in the United States, with more than 200,000 people of Korean descent, according to the 2010 census.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Clayton Kershaw
WINS ERA SO IP
21 1.77 239 198
OTHER LEADERS
BAY. Puig .296
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239