After expected rumors of the Dodgers and Hyun Jin Ryu’s agent Scott Boras being far apart, the two sides eventually agreed to a contract worth $36 million over a six-year span, according to Jon Heyman. As far as incentives go, Ryu can earn up to $1 million per year based on innings pitched and can increase his base salary (via Dylan Hernandez) if he does well in the Cy Young Award voting. Additionally, Tim Brown reports that if he throws 750 innings over his first five years, he can opt out of the deal. The Dodgers won the rights to negotiate with Ryu for $25.7 million via the posting system, and that money will now be sent to the Hanwha Eagles.
We’ve gone over this on the site previously, but reports on Ryu’s potential range from a middle of the rotation starter to a middle reliever, but most agree he has the talent to slot in around #3/#4 in a rotation. Granted, he hails from the KBO and has no MLB track record, so he’s riskier than those on the free-agent market, but given the current market and the Dodgers payroll, it seems to be an acceptable risk to take for an investment that totals a little over $10 million annually to lock up all of his prime years.
As for the state of the rotation, this now means that, in addition to Ryu, the Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, and Ted Lilly in the stable. Furthermore, rumor has it that the team isn’t done yet and would still like to acquire another starter.
The acquisition of yet another starter would leave Ryu potentially questionable to enter the rotation right off the bat, especially if Billingsley is healthy and they can’t find trade partners for both Capuano and Harang. Still, that’s an awful good problem for the Dodgers to have, and given Billingsley’s questionable health, the stockpiling of starters is obviously by design as well. Regardless of where Ryu starts off the season though, he should slot into the back of the Dodgers rotation at some point if he’s as good as most expect him to be.