The Dodgers bid $25.7 million last month for exclusive negotiating rights on South Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-Jin. Now they have a little more than 24 hours to get a deal done.
Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM was told by a Dodgers source that they expect negotiations will go right up until the 5 p.m. deadline tomorrow. Of course, that’s not really unusual for a situation like this, so that doesn’t mean that a deal is in jeopardy.
The last we heard on Tuesday, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said that his offer to Hyun-Jin fell “a tad short.” Hyun-Jin’s agent, Scott Boras, then acknowledged that he had made a counter-offer and that negotiations were ongoing.
Hyun-Jin turns 26 in March and owns a 2.80 ERA over seven seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization. Per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Boras said earlier this week that the southpaw is ready to step in as a No. 3 starter immediately and needs to be paid “within the standards of what other No. 3’s are getting.” It’s fair to guess that may put him in the range of Jeremy Guthrie’s recent three-year, $25 million deal with the Royals.
If a deal isn’t worked out, Hyun-Jin will return to his team in the KBO while the Dodgers will not be responsible for the posting fee.
The Dodgers have signed lefty Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million contract.The deal was reported to be imminent over the weekend, but was finalized today following Hill’s physical.
Hill missed a good deal of time in 2016 with blister issues — and he’ll be 37-years-old on Opening Day — but when he was healthy he was fantastic, posting the best season in his 12-year career. He had a a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 110.1 innings between the Athletics and Dodgers.
Along with a healthy Clayton Kershaw a maturing Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers rotation looks to be a strength in 2017.
UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that a deal is in place pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known. UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears it’s in the four-year, $62 million range. That will make him, temporarily at least, the highest-paid closer in baseball history.
12:15 PM: Ken Rosenthal reports that the San Francisco Giants are close to a deal with closer Mark Melancon.
Melancon had an outstanding 2016, posting a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and a 5.42 K/BB rate in 71.1 innings while saving 47 games for the Pirates and Nationals. You may recall that the Giants had a strong interest in Melancon last summer. It was a well-founded interest given the bullpen woes which waylaid San Francisco in the second half of last season and continued on into the playoffs.
The terms of the apparently impeding deal will be known soon enough, but Rosenthal reported yesterday that Melancon was fielding offers in the four-years, $60 million range. That’s a lot for a closer, but it’ll probably look like a bargain compared to the deals signed with the other two top closers on the market, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. Some have speculated that Chapman could get a deal closer to $100 million than $50 million, though that seems optimistic.
What the past couple of seasons have shown, however, is that having a top bullpen will get you very, very far in Major League Baseball. Champan may have been gassed at the end of Game 7, but he was essential to the Cubs’ World Series title. Powerful bullpens gave the Royals a title in 2015 and the Indians an AL pennant this past year. A weak one was, obviously, the Giants’ achilles heel.
Their great need at the back end of the pen, according to Rosenthal’s report, is apparently about to be filled.