Hanwha Eagles to post Hyun-Jin Ryu this winter

Fan Confidence Poll: October 29th, 2012
Yankees exercise options for Cano, Granderson, Aardsma
(Richard Heathcote/Getty)

Looking for an off the beaten path pitching option this offseason? Well here you go. The Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization will post star left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu this offseason according to a report by Yonhap. The 25-year-old just completed his seventh season in the league and thus became eligible to be posted. He would have to wait a few more years to qualify for international free agency.

Ryu, who is represented by Scott Boras, has been one of the league’s most dominant pitchers since making his debut as a teenager. He first garnered attention by helping South Korea to Olympic gold in 2008 and a second place finish in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked him as the fifth best prospect in the tournament, one spot ahead of Yoenis Cespedes. “Ryu has four average to above-average pitches, (including) a 86-93 mph fastball with late life that he can add and subtract from when needed, a slow curve (75 mph), a tighter slider and a changeup,” wrote the publication. “Ryu’s biggest asset is his feel for pitching. Scouts have said that he would be a first-round pick if he was in the U.S.”

I have no idea what kind of posting fee and contract would be required to sign Ryu, but a highly doubt we’re talking about a Yu Darvish type of package here. That was a (very) special case. Baseball America says Ryu has drawn a bunch of David Wells comparisons because he’s a four-pitch lefty with command and has a history of pitching well in important games (especially internationally), plus his personality is a little wacky and he’s kinda fat. The competition in KBO is inferior to NPB in Japan, so the transition would obviously be a concern. Here’s some recent video.

Every team needs pitching and the Yankees especially covet left-handers considering their ballpark, so it stands to reason that they would at least kick the tires on Ryu. I wouldn’t expect him to come over to MLB and be an ace-caliber pitcher, but given the scouting report and his track record, perhaps he can be another Wei-Yin Chen. League-average southpaws who are years away from their 30th birthday are incredibly valuable. Chen was a true free agent who signed a three-year pact for under $12M, so tack a posting fee on top of that — remember, posting frees do not count towards the luxury tax — and maybe Ryu is a $20-25M investment. I’m just spit-balling here, I have little feel for this market in general.

Fan Confidence Poll: October 29th, 2012
Yankees exercise options for Cano, Granderson, Aardsma
  • Will The Thrill

    I much prefer Ken over Ryu.

    • Robinson Tilapia


  • pounder

    Do it Brian.

  • cashmoney

    his stuff looks impressive.

  • 0 for infinity and beyond

    No relation to Kei Igawa, right?

  • Robinson Tilapia


  • JLC 776

    I had a very hard time reading this post beyond, Ryu, who is represented by Scott Boras….

  • Bavarian Yankee

    “perhaps he can be another Wei-Yin Chen”

    you think so? Even if he really is as good as Chen I wouldn’t spend more than 10M on Ryu Hyun-Jin and we shouldn’t forget that Chen was one of the top pitchers in Japan. Japan’s league is at least 1 level above the Korean league, you see it every time a Korean star goes to Japan (like Kim Tae-Kyun or Lee Dae-Ho) and then struggles there.

    I’m not a scout or anything like that but his delivery looks pretty shaky (he’s moving a lot) and he seems to have a hard time to repeat it. I’d pass. High risk, low reward imo, let somebody else have him.

    • Mark in VT

      But wouldn’t 3 years at $4 be worth the risk? Not a lot locked into a guy expected to be your number 4-5 starter. Especially since the Yanks have very little in the farm for the near future.

      • JLC 776

        I think it entirely depends on the posting fee – which is likely to be quite high given that this is a Boras client.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Boras has nothing to do with the posting fee. The teams bid whatever they want, there’s no negotiating.

          • JLC 776

            Whoops – I rescind.

      • Bavarian Yankee

        “Not a lot locked into a guy expected to be your number 4-5 starter.”

        that may be right but the question is if he’s good enough to be a #4-5 starter for the Yankees. I really doubt that. I don’t see him ahead of guys like Nova or Phelps.

        Is he worth the risk: I don’t know. I just THINK he’s not worth it. If Cashman and his people think he’s worth it, then go for it.

        • JonS

          1. Nova is not really that good.
          2. Phelps is still a relative unknown.

          Is he worth the risk? Depends. Is that risk $50 million or $15 million. That’s a big difference. Either way, you can’t count on Nova or Phelps being anything (except Phelps being a decent bullpen piece).

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t know enough about the guy to say what he’s worth, but I disagree there’s not much in the farm in the near future in the way of back-end (or better) starting prospects. Aside from Nova and Phelps already having had some MLB success, there’s Warren, Marshall, Banuelos, Pineda (not exactly farm), Turley, Betances, Ramirez… All those guys have the potential to be MLB-ready in 2013 or 2014 and would be a lot cheaper than Ryu if Mike’s estimate is close.

        • JonS

          The Yankees are going to need three starting pitchers in the next couple years. No way all three come from that list. I’d be happy if one did.

          • Preston

            I just don’t understand this constant panic about pitching. Everybody looks at Nova’s regression this year and goes “Oh my God, the Yanks can’t develop pitching”. The fact of the matter is that young pitchers are a very volatile commodity. The way to do it is with quantity. Nova, Phelps and Pineda have all had big league success, and Warren is big league ready. Banuelos is an elite talent who’s had success at AAA and is only 21, Marshall and Turley will probably get their first shot at AAA this season and maybe be ready for the majors at the end of 2013, start of 2014. Plus we haven’t even talked about lower level guys who could move into the picture in the next few years like Jose Ramirez, Hensley, Depaula, Rutckyj and Mitchell. Plus I think that the answer to the volatility of pitching is to embrace that and stockpile. We signed Garcia and Colon two years ago, and Pettitte and Kuroda this season. If we always bring in a couple of old guys on one year deals and combine it with young guys on the cheap, we can piece together a rotation every year without getting stuck with any more AJ Burnett type overpays. The downside to that approach is that their will always be high turnover and thus constant panic about pitching on these boards.

            • Ted Nelson

              Strong points

          • Ted Nelson

            The comment was specifically that the Yankees lacked short-term back-end starting prospects. I disagreed with that specific comment.

            While I agree they will need multiple starters going forward, I don’t think that has too much to do with Ryu. Ryu is one guy, not three. He’s not the only free agent SP out there for the next few years. I don’t even know if he’ll be a semi-successful SP in MLB. Perhaps he’s the next Chen, but perhaps he’s the next Igawa. I’d rather the Yankees just evaluate him on his individual merits relative to their other options.

  • jon

    With the same disclaimer of “I am not a pitching coach”, I was a pretty good pitcher go a scholarship to a D.III school. His delivery looks pretty good to me and he seems to repeat it, and his change up looks good. One thing that stands out is his short stride, he could pickup some velocity if he slowed down his mechanics and lengthened his stride toward the plate.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Does Division III offer sports scholarships?

      • TCMiller30

        I was pretty sure they couldn’t offer athletic scholarships..

        • Cris Pengiucci

          I’m certain they don’t. Just went through the Di/DIII recruiting process with my daughter 2 years ago (ice hockey).

        • G

          As a DIII athlete: they can’t.

    • kevin w.

      DIII scholarship? Dave Duncan over here

      • http://www,riveraveblues.com GT Yankee

        So tired of smart arses on this site knocking a guy who has played past a high school level. (Penis envy?) While he might not be Dave Duncan, he likely received a lot of coaching with pitching which makes him more of an authority than 98% here on the board.

        Get a life board bashing bullies!

        • Ted Nelson

          Don’t think that’s the issue here… people are wondering about the veracity of his claim. There are no D3 athletic scholarships. There are some ways to bend the rules to offer “non-athletic”–merit or need based–scholarships that are actually meant to attract athletes. There aren’t even that many full baseball scholarships at D1 schools.

          I’m all for jon providing his analysis. He’s an anonymous poster on here, though… you deciding he’s more credible than 98% of people here is odd.

          • http://www,riveraveblues.com GT Yankee

            Ted, Having read your other posts ad-nauseam-I find it utterly shocking that you have something to say. Some people pick their spots and others inflict themselves on people about everything. And as per usual, you have taken whatever interpretation you see fit and adopted it to argue your point. I was not commenting on the DIII Scholarship bit-I could care less whether he received a scholarship or not. The last person who I commented on stated “DIII Scholarhip, Dave Duncan here”. I don’t believe his point was questioning the validity so much as replying condescendingly to someone who claims to be a former DIII player. While attaining that level is certainly more than most of us on here ever accomplished, I don’t think it’s quite a level you lie about. IMO, if you’re going to put down someone’s modest claim and interpretation in a less than cordial manner, be able to state why your own background/experience is of greater consequence….If you have the sack.

            • Ted Nelson

              No, the comment was specifically about there being no such thing as D3 scholarships. See Kevin’s explanation below.

              No one is saying that someone’s opinion is or isn’t valid because of their level of baseball experience… except for… you. You are the one who introduced this concept out of left field. You are the one hinting that people who are more experienced playing baseball are necessarily more able to analyze it…

              I very politely let you know I thought you had mis-interpreted the comment… and you decided to be a dick back. Nice one, bud.

              • G

                Going to have to back Ted up. Given the fact that a DIII scholarship is non-existent, I find the opinion of someone claiming to be a former DIII scholarsip athlete to be suspicious.

        • kevin w.

          I’m not bullying? They aren’t absent of biomechanics or coaching in Korea. I would rather leave it up to the club to decide this rather than some random person on a blog who claims they got a SCHOLARSHIP to play D3 sports.

          • hogsmog

            Good thing that it will be left up to the club and not some random person on a blog, no matter what you or any other person on the blog thinks.

  • kevin w.

    I’d be up for it if the price doesn’t get out of hand, it would allow them to make Nova/Phelps available in trades for an outfielder.

    • Preston

      I’m up for the Yanks going after any pitcher. Internally decide what you’re willing to pay and make the post. I would be upset if they didn’t enter a bid, you never know what other teams are thinking. But I doubt this guy would be big league ready.

      • Ted Nelson

        Agreed, assuming they’re at least willing to use a 40 man spot on him. Also agree that they can’t start making plans based on Ryu being in the MLB rotation if they do sign him.

  • kim

    i’m korean and a big fan of Ryu

    I think Ryu has some risks and the biggest one is that there has been no Korean player who went to MLB directly from Korean leauge. so there is no way to predict how he is gonna be in America.
    However i believe that he is still worth becuase his posting fee is not gonna be like Darvish’s $50m. Korean people think it will be at most $13m and between $8m~$10m is still good. This means that mlb team doesn’t need to pay alot to get him. Also, his mentallity is pretty good. For last 7 seasons, he has never been in any trouble with media, fans, or teammates. Well, its hard to explain because most of you have never watched his pitching live but his stable mentality on the mound is considered as one of his strength. He also has some big international experience like 2008 Olympic. He was a starter of the final game againsr Cuba and he was the winning pitcher, 8 1/3, 2R 6K.

    I don’t think he will be a super ace in MLB but he can be a good rotation and personally i really want to see him pitching in MLB

    • http://blog.naver.com/z2046 Hee

      That’s right. He’s a one of best player in Korea not only delivery ability but especially mentality. Even if daptation himself to a new enviroment is a little variable of him, he can overcome and show his own pitching.

  • Bubba

    Fat, wacky and New York… how can they not get this guy?

  • Andrew Brotherton

    I think we should go for it, if he could solidify a spot in the 3rd of 4th slot in our rotation for a few years then why not put up 4 to 5 million for him. If he doesn’t work out it isn’t a huge loss.

    • Ted Nelson

      The $189 million budget creates a real opportunity cost if he doesn’t work out. I’m not saying not to do it. I’m saying to evaluate his value, then offer what you think he’s worth. Don’t just throw money at him because he may or may not succeed.

  • romero

    u guys should watch WBC and Beijing olympic against Cuba.. He is so impressed

  • http://www.naver.com baseball


  • http://www.naver.com baseball


    • EE

      If you see the number of innings they pitched in a single year, you wouldn’t be able to say that. As the matter of fact, his pitching was terrible after injury.

  • http://blog.naver.com/z2046 Hee

    That’s right. He’s a one of best player in Korea not only delivery ability but especially mentality. Even if daptation himself to a new enviroment is a little variable of him, he can overcome and show his own pitching.

  • Dave M

    Ryu is the best pitcher in KBO by far. I think Ryu is better than what Yankees got except CC. If I were BCash I would definitely go after this guy. His posting fee will be around 10~15M and he will get a young left with poise, command, and four plus pitches.

  • Kevin

    Ryu has been one of the greatest pitchers in the KBO history. With seven seasons in Hanwha, he has accomplished lots of great records. I acknowledge the fact that Korean league is considered as lower level of NPB in Japan. As time passes the gap between KBO and NPB has shrunk and I believe Ryu has capacity to be the pitcher just like Wei-Yin Chen or Yu Darvish. Spending more than 10M would not a waste at all. Having a such kind of lefty with four above-average pitches would be the great investment.

  • http://blog.naver.com/7179sjw Son jung woo

    I am a fan of Ryu belong Hanwha Eagles.Ryu succeed in the MLB can be sure that the fact that noHis pitching sensation, but I appreciated I hope.He throws a slow curveball and slider, Circle changeup.KBO when he debuted in the time he did not only have a fast ball and a curve ball.Impressive pitching debut game from simple biting, but he hit obtained.However, a circle changeup, a team of seniors learn and use it in practice.About 2002 Changyong Yim and apply contributions to SangHoon Lee was quiet.ML expansion of each $ 650,000 and $ 600,000 were presented, the dream was dissipated. The next ten years ago. Ratings for the Korea Baseball in the United States, if I do not know, I have grown a lot during the Korean Baseball thinks.Still short, but the history of professional baseball in the United States, I think the Korea Baseball interested jundamyeon.ML opener to open in Japan and a friendly match with Japan from envy.Koreans were eagerRyu, and now he is pitching in the bigger stage, that wants to see that.Remember that before several hwaldonghan Korean pitcher Park plays.Of it, this new instrument would be nice.

    While using a translator writing. Please awkward understood, even if I hope

  • YJ SEO

    Does Ryu have a wacky personality? No way. He’s very FRIENDLY.
    He has always got along with team mates including foreign players. Every players(even opponents) in the league like him. His attitude and moderation on the mound is so great. It’s like that of 35-year old pitcher. So every coaches love him. He is young and promising. And he has a huge physique with a teddy bear face. In addition,Ryu is neither a picky eater nor a stubborn guy. That means there is high probability of adapting to the new surroundings. I’m sure Mike Axisa has never ever seen the baseball routine of Ryu properly. I expect to see him picth in MLB soon. ? ? ??? ??? ??? ?? ? ??.