Carlos Quentin better watch out on Monday!
The Dodgers recently gave Zack Greinke the largest contract of any right-handed pitcher in baseball history, but general manager Ned Colletti still feels he has the money to extend incumbent ace Clayton Kershaw, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Colletti could begin exploring an extension for the 2011 Cy Young winner within the coming weeks, says Hernandez (Twitter links).
Kershaw, still just 24 years old, has led the National League in ERA, WHIP and hits per nine innings in each of the past two seasons. He’s honed what once was shaky command into a strength, issuing just 2.3 walks per nine frames since the beginning of 2011. Kershaw has also seen his ground-ball rate rise in each of the past three seasons.
Kershaw is a Super Two player who would be eligible for arbitration a second time this offseason had he not signed a two-year, $19MM extension prior to the 2011 season. Any extension would buy out his remaining two years of arbitration eligibility, and presumably Colletti would like to buy out at least three free agent seasons. Recent extensions for superstar pitchers such as Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Jered Weaver each bought out at least three free agent years.
The Dodgers have signed Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu for $36MM over six years, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). The deal was struck just prior to the 4pm CT deadline and only 20 hours after signing Zack Greinke to a six-year, $147MM contract.
Ryu’s deal includes innings-based performance bonuses worth $1M per year, which could raise the total of the contract to $42MM, according to Heyman (Twitter links). Heyman also reports (via Twitter) that Ryu can opt out after the fifth year of the deal. The opt out can be triggered if Ryu throws 175 innings during those five years, writes Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown. Brown adds Ryu will receive a $5MM signing bonus.
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times breaks down (via Twitter) the innings-based performance bonuses and other details (all links go to Twitter) from the Scott Boras negotiated deal including: there isn’t a no-trade clause, Ryu’s salary can increase depending on how he fares in the Cy Young voting, Ryu can’t be sent to the minors without his written consent, the Dodgers will pay for an interpreter, and Ryu’s jersey will sport the number 99.
The Dodgers expect Ryu to be part of their starting rotation next season, reports Hernandez. Ryu joins Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang as starters already under contract. With this surplus, Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com tweets Capuano or Harang could be dealt in the coming days or weeks.
Ryu was posted by the Hanwha Eagles last month and the Dodgers won his negotiating rights with a bid worth a bit more than $25.7MM. The 25-year-old has been one of the Korea Baseball Organization’s most dominant pitchers over the last several years, helping Korea win Olympic gold in 2008 and finish second in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Ryu went 9-9 with a 2.66 ERA last season for last place Hanwha with 210 strikeouts in 182 2/3 innings. He has a 2.80 ERA over his seven-year career in Korea.
This marks the Dodgers’ second significant move in the international market since they were purchased by Guggenheim Baseball Management. In June, the Dodgers signed 21-year-old Cuban defector Yasiel Puig to a seven-year, $42-million contract.
7:25pm: The Rangers have been told that Greinke is not signing with them, reports MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.
6:59pm: It’s a six-year contract worth $145MM, reports Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). That would be the largest contract ever given to right-handed pitcher, surpassing Matt Cain’s five-year, $112.5MM deal. Hernandez emphasizes that the deal is not done yet.
6:45pm: The Dodgers appear to be close to signing Zack Greinke, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). There is still ground to be covered, but Los Angeles is out in front for the right-hander’s services at the moment.
Greinke, 29, is the free agent market’s top pitcher and top overall player according to MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes. The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner pitched to a 3.48 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 212 1/3 innings split between the Brewers and Angels last season. It was his fourth 200+ inning season in the last five years.
The Dodgers, Angels, and Rangers have been the righty’s three primary suitors this offseason. Yesterday we learned that the Halos are “very unlikely” to re-sign Greinke, who was “blown away” by his visit to Texas. The Dodgers were also said to be pessimistic about their chances to land him, so these things can change in a hurry.
Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/#i4qpv7tezZ0eeQSc.99