LOS ANGELES -- Despite nearing a contract agreement with Zack Greinke on Saturday, the Dodgers still want to sign Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin, according to a baseball source.
The Dodgers have until 2 p.m. PT on Sunday to get it done or Ryu, a seven-time All-Star, returns to Korea and the $25.7 million fee the Dodgers posted for exclusive negotiating rights will be refunded. Talks between the two sides are expected to continue up to the deadline.
With $147 million slated for Greinke, the Dodgers remain determined to sign Ryu at a salary that demonstrates respect for his achievements overseas. But with exclusive negotiating rights for Ryu and Greinke now in the fold, there is no need for the Dodgers to overpay.
The two biggest Asian pitchers to come to the Major Leagues recently -- Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish -- signed for packages similar to their posting fees.
The Red Sox, after posting $51 million, gave Matsuzaka a six-year, $52 million contract. The Rangers, after posting $51 million, signed Darvish to a six-year, $60 million contract. Based on those deals, the $25.7 million posting fee for Ryu projects to a contract package of less than $30 million.
But the Dodgers are still serious about Ryu because they consider him an upgrade over Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. They would slot him in as a No. 3 starter after Greinke and before Chad Billingsley (if his elbow is sound), with Josh Beckett a pretty accomplished fifth starter.
Ryu was the first player to win the MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season in Korea, when he went 18-6. He averaged 15 wins a season until this year, when the Eagles finished last and he had only nine wins, along with a 2.66 ERA.
The 6-2, 230-pound Ryu is a strikeout pitcher with a fastball in the low-90s, a changeup and slider. He helped Korea to the finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic and the gold medal in the 2008 Olympic Games.
Ryu went 9-9 with a 2.66 ERA last season for Hanwha, striking out 210 in 182 2/3 innings. He has a 2.80 ERA over his seven-year career in Korea.