Author: Drew Silva

hyun-jin ryu
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Hyun-Jin Ryu expects to be ready for beginning of 2016 season

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Hyun-Jin Ryu missed the entire 2015 season to a lefty shoulder injury that eventually required major surgery, but he began a throwing program in early October and hasn’t encountered a setback through two-plus months of rehab.

Ryu said this weekend at the Dodgers’ annual holiday party that he expects to be 100 percent recovered and prepared for a full workload by the beginning of the 2016 campaign. “My personal goal is to be in the rotation Opening Day until the season ends,” the South Korean left-hander told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com on Saturday.

Ryu will be asked to carry a lot of weight in 2016 with the Dodgers losing Zack Greinke to the Diamondbacks this offseason. Los Angeles pursued Johnny Cueto, but the team’s final bid finished either second or third to San Francisco. And the Dodgers had a three-year, $45 million deal in place with Hisashi Iwakuma in early December but pulled it off the table after Iwakuma’s physical. He went on to re-sign with the Mariners.

Andrew Friedman and Co. could still trade for an impact starter or two.

Nationals considering Wei-Yin Chen

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As first reported by MLB.com’s Bill Ladson and now confirmed by Buster Olney of ESPN, the Nationals are showing interest in free agent starter Wei-Yin Chen. Olney notes that Chen is a Scott Boras client, like many of the Nats’ current players. Ladson, however, says it’s not clear if Washington is willing to do a five-year deal.

Chen registered a strong 3.34 ERA, 1.218 WHIP, and 153/41 K/BB ratio across 191 1/3 innings this past season for the Orioles. He has a 3.72 ERA (110 ERA+) in 117 starts since leaving Japan for Baltimore on a three-year, $12 million contract with a $4.75 million club option for 2015.

That deal proved to be a huge bargain.

MASN’s Roch Kubatko tweeted last week that the 30-year-old left-hander wants $100 million over five years, and it’s not a crazy request in a market where Jeff Samardzija can command $90 million. Chen was a much better pitcher than Samardzija in 2015, and Chen is even a few months younger than the new Giants right-hander.

Mike Matheny on Jason Heyward’s comments about Cubs’ younger core: “I don’t like it”

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Jason Heyward told reporters at his introductory press conference last week in Chicago that he chose the Cubs over the Cardinals due in large part to the Cubs’ younger core of star players: “I felt like if I were to look up in three years [in St. Louis] and see it’s a completely different team, that would be kind of be different for me,” Heyward said. “Chicago really offers me an opportunity to come in, get introduced to the culture by a young group of guys.”

Those comments are generating some posturing from the Cardinals, who have won three straight National League Central titles and played in four out of the last five National League Championship Series — the one miss was this past year, when the Cubs advanced past their arch-rivals in the NLDS.

Here is Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, speaking Saturday to St. Louis Post-Dispatch veteran Rick Hummel

“I don’t think we have anything to apologize for in having a group like a Holliday, a Molina, a Wainwright,” said Matheny. “Those are the kinds of guys everybody wants on a club.

“I see where he’s coming from. I mean, look at what Chicago’s done. It’s very unique in this game — to have that many impact players at that young age. And he’s a young player. But I can’t say I’m in any kind of agreement with that (Chicago) core being better than any kind of core that we have.

“That veteran group (that the Cardinals have) also helps drive what the younger group turns into.”

All things you’d expect Matheny to say about his own club — a club that will not enter 2016 as favorites in the NL Central but should still be very competitive. He then dug a little deeper

“I don’t blame him. But I don’t like it,” continued Matheny. “I thought we created a really good atmosphere and he had to weigh what was most important to him. … We made a terrific offer. With all that being said, it comes down to what does a guy want? (Staying in St. Louis) just wasn’t what he was looking for.”

This seems like a good time to note that the Cubs’ eight-year, $184 million deal with Heyward carries two opt-outs, which could very well give it more overall earning potential than whatever the Cardinals or Nationals proposed. Heyward says he took less, but that’s not certain. Big-time free agents usually follow the money.

The Cubs first visit St. Louis for a three-game series at Busch Stadium April 18-20.

The rivalry is all the way back.

O’s owner Peter Angelos and Chris Davis’ agent Scott Boras “continue to have dialogue”

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Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told Rich Dubroff of CSNMidAtlantic.com last week that he had pulled the club’s nine-figure proposal to Chris Davis off the table. But that doesn’t mean there has been a complete breakdown in negotiations.

Jon Heyman has the update in his latest Inside Baseball column at CBSSports.com …

While it has been said that the Orioles have “pulled” the $154 million, seven-year offer to slugger Chris Davis, owner Peter Angelos and Davis’ agent Scott Boras continue to have dialogue by phone and continue to debate whether that is the appropriate offer; they spoke as recently as midweek.

Davis and Boras are thought to be looking for something closer to $200 million, but it sounds like they could double back to Baltimore if no other team takes the bait.

Davis, 29, batted .262/.361/.562 with 47 home runs and 117 RBI in 160 games this past season for the O’s. He also led all major league hitters with 208 strikeouts.

Orioles reach two-year, $7 million deal with Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim

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Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have reached agreement on a two-year free agent contract with Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim. It’s believed to be worth $3.5 million per year, or $7 million total.

Kim, a 27-year-old left-handed hitter, registered a .318/.406/.488 batting line across 10 seasons with the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization. He slugged a career-high 28 home runs this summer in the KBO while drawing 101 walks against 63 strikeouts.

Kim flew to the United States on Wednesday morning to work out the final details of the contract and to take his pre-signing physical. He fits the Orioles’ need for a left-handed-hitting corner outfielder, though it’s unlikely his power will fully translate. Or even partially translate.

This could turn into more of a depth signing than anything for the O’s.

Not every Korean is going to pull a Jung Ho Kang.