Ryu Hyun-Jin

Korean star pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin available for bidding, hires agent Scott Boras

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MLB teams will be able to bid on the negotiating rights to Korean pitching star Ryu Hyun-Jin, according to Yoo Jee-Ho of the Yonhap News.

Hyun-Jin, a 25-year-old left-hander who’s been one of the Korea Baseball Organization’s best pitchers since 2006, will be “posted” by the Hanwha Eagles and has already hired agent Scott Boras to represent him.

Lots of players have come to MLB via the Japanese posting process, but the Korean version is slightly different. Jee-Ho describes how it works:

The KBO club can either accept or reject the highest bid amount following the auction. Once the non-negotiable bid is accepted, the interested MLB team will have the exclusive right to negotiate with the posted player. When the two sides agree on contract terms, the Eagles will then take the bid money as a transfer fee for the player. On the other hand, the Eagles may also reject any bid, in which case Ryu will remain with the KBO team next year.

In other words, it’s basically a silent auction with a reserve/minimum price that no one actually knows yet. Hyun-Jin has made it clear that he wants to pitch in America and could leave Korea as an outright free agent in 2014, so this is his team’s chance to get something in return.

Hyun-Jin was the first Korean player to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season and has led the KBO in strikeouts five times. According to Jee-Ho he “can reach up to 93 miles per hour with his fastball, and major league scouts have said they like his command with his changeup and slider.”

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.