Dodgers sign Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu for $36 million

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For all of the bluster, there was never really any doubt this would get done: the Dodgers signed Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu just before the Sunday afternoon deadline.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reports that it’s a six-year, $36 million contract that includes an opt out after five years if Ryu tops a certain number of innings.

The Dodgers bid $25.7 million for Ryu’s rights last month after he was posted by his team in Korea. He went 9-9 with a 2.66 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 182 2/3 innings for Hanwha last season.

The 25-year-old Ryu can’t necessarily be penciled into a rotation that’s set to include Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Josh Beckett, with Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly coming back from injuries. The team also has Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang available as starters, but with a payroll set to come in around $250 million, those guys are expendable.

Ryu could open the year in the pen and then move into the rotation later, or it’s possible he’ll be needed right away if either Billingsley or Lilly requires additional rehab time. Given that Ryu hasn’t thrown 200 innings in a season since 2007, it might be for the best if he spends the first month or so working in relief.

Here’s some Korean footage of Ryu striking out 13 batters in a game:

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.