UPDATE: Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs were among the teams who submitted a bid. The Hanwha Eagles have four business days to decide whether they are going to accept the highest bid.
7:42 PM: We learned early last week that the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization were planning to post left-hander Ryu Hyun-Jin for MLB teams. We may soon find out who had the winning bid.
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, bids for Hyun-Jin were due by 5 p.m. ET today. While Grant doesn’t have confirmation, he believes the Rangers may have made a bid.
The Eagles have the right to accept or decline the bid, as Hyun-Jin can’t leave Korea as an outright free agent until 2014. If they accept, Hyun-Jin will have the opportunity to negotiate a contract with the winning team. He has already hired Scott Boras to represent him, which puts an interesting wrinkle in the proceedings. Assuming a contract is eventually worked out, the Eagles will then receive the posting fee.
Hyun-Jin, 25, has been one of the best starters in KBO since winning the Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season as a teenager. He’s not a hard-thrower, mostly sitting in the high-80s to low-90s (pitch data courtesy of MyKBO.net), but his changeup is considered a quality pitch.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.