When the Dodgers won exclusive bidding rights for South Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin back on November 10 for a cool $25.7 million, it was pretty much expected that nothing would happen until shortly before the December 9th 2 PM (PT) negotiation deadline. The reason, of course, is because the 2012 Winter Meetings would not end until Thursday afternoon, December 6 and that by then, the bankroll-rich Dodgers might not even want or need Ryu.
Well, the Winter Meetings ended on Thursday afternoon in what can only be described as anticlimactic for the Dodgers, this in spite of the tremendous media hype and incessant rumor mill that pegged the Dodgers to spend money as if the December 21st Mayan apocalypse were actually going to happen.
Although Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti did meet with Ryu’s agent (and baseball’s Antichrist) Scott Boras during the Winter Meetings and made Ryu a long-term contract offer, Colletti made it blatantly clear that talks with Boras couldn’t be any farther apart.
“Predictably, (our offer) fell a tad short,” said Colletti in his typical sarcastic humor. Such a statement by Colletti suggests that Boras has placed an extremely lofty value on Ryu, one that in all probability won’t even be considered by the Dodgers before Sunday afternoon’s deadline.
Boras’ comment to reporters after his meeting with Colletti was almost predictable. “Japan is a very viable option for (Ryu).” While Boras’ weak attempt at leverage might be true if Ryu were an inexperienced and untested 20 or 21-year-old rookie, is doesn’t hold water for the 25-year-old Ryu, who has made it very clear that he wants to pitch in the MLB and wants to do so in 2013. Later in the day, Boras told reporters that he presented the Dodgers with a counteroffer saying “We exchanged offers, and negotiations continue,” but a person familiar with the discussions said that even the counteroffer was far too high for Colletti and the Dodgers to consider.
Boras has said all along that Ryu should be paid comparably to what any current number 3 major league starter is paid, which is rather ridiculous considering that Ryu has zero MLB experience. Boras added that he thinks Ryu should receive a similar contract to what another of his clients received – Japanese superstar pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who signed with the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2007 season for $52 million, this not including the $51 million that the Red Sox had to pay to the Seibu Lions for exclusive bidding rights.
I suspect that Colletti and Boras will continue to negotiate up until Sunday’s deadline, especially if the Dodgers fail to sign Zack Greinke or any other starting pitcher before then, but I would be shocked if Colletti goes above $50 million for Ryu Hyun-jin.