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.

Johnny Monell signs with KBO’s KT Wiz

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 06:  Johnny Monell #19 of the New York Mets runs back to the dugout after he scored in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.

Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.

The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.