Cubs among teams to submit bids on Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-Jin

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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.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.