Ryu Hyun-Jin

Dodgers bid $25.7 million to negotiate with Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-Jin

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UPDATE: According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, MLB has confirmed that the Dodgers had the winning bid of $25,737,737 and have secured exclusive negotiating rights for Ryu Hyun-Jin. They now have 30 days to work out a contract with Hyun-Jin’s agent, Scott Boras.

Given how much of an investment the Dodgers are likely to make here, it will be interesting to see whether this will take them out of the running for free agent starters like Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez or Hiroki Kuroda. Of course, they are spending money like it’s going out of style, so who knows.

9:29 PM, Friday: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers did not win the bidding. Meanwhile, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun hears that the Orioles did not submit a bid.

8:59 PM: Still awaiting confirmation, but Buster Olney of ESPN.com hears that other teams suspect the Dodgers won the bidding. On a related note, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com were told that the Dodgers submitted an “aggressive bid.”

8:00 PM: Contrary to chatter and speculation on Twitter, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Cubs did not have the winning bid.

7:54 PM: Bidding for Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-Jin came to a close yesterday at 5 p.m. ET. While it’s not clear who won exclusive negotiating rights, we do know the winning bid.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the top bid checked in at $25,737,737 and was accepted by Hyun-Jin’s team, the Hanwha Eagles.

Still waiting for confirmation on which team won, but the Cubs and Rangers both reportedly made bids. The team that submitted the winning bid will now have 30 days to work out a contract with Hyun-Jin. The 25-year-old southpaw is represented by Scott Boras, so negotiations won’t be easy. At this price, it’s clear the winning team views him as a starting pitcher. The Hanwha Eagles will not receive the posting fee unless a contract is eventually worked out.

Hyun-Jin checks in at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds and has a 2.80 ERA over seven seasons in KBO. He’s not overpowering, generally sitting in the low-90s with his fastball, but he’s said to possess an excellent changeup.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.