Ryu Hyun-jin, the South Korean pitcher recently made available for bidding among Major League Baseball clubs, said Monday he was confident he would receive a good bid from the big leagues in the coming days.
Ryu was posted by his current team, the Hanwha Eagles in the Korea Baseball Organization, last week and interested MLB clubs have four business days in which to submit their bids for the left-hander.
Speaking on the sidelines of the KBO awards ceremony in Seoul, Ryu said he would be “disappointed” if he didn't get an offer that he feels he deserves.
“I believe someone will make a good enough of a bid,” he said.
“If I don’t get the kind of an offer that I think I deserve, I will absolutely not leave (for the MLB).”
Ryu, 25, joined the KBO in 2006 as a second overall draft pick out of high school and made an immediate impact, becoming the first player to win both the MVP and the Rookie of the Year honors in the same season. He went 18-6 with a 2.23 earned run average in his first year, with a KBO rookie record 204 strikeouts.
He averaged almost 15 wins a season from 2006 to 2010 but was limited to nine wins this year on the league's worst team, despite posting a 2.66 ERA. He has led the KBO in strikeouts in five different seasons.
Ryu became eligible for posting this fall by completing his seventh KBO season. As the Eagles staggered to a last-place finish in the eight-team KBO, Ryu repeatedly said he wanted to compete in the majors next year.
Ryu needed consent from the Eagles to be posted and the club, after weeks of indecision, agreed to grant the player’s wish in late October.
Under an agreement between the KBO and MLB, requests for postings must be made between Nov. 1 and March 1 the following year. After the Eagles made Ryu available, the KBO notified MLB of Ryu's status last Friday, Korean time.
At the end of the four-day bidding period, the KBO will be notified of the highest bid. In Ryu’s case, the Eagles will have four business days to either accept or reject the bid amount.
If the non-negotiable bid is accepted, the interested MLB team will have the exclusive rights to negotiate with Ryu for 30 days.
The Eagles will take the bid money as sort of a transfer fee for the player if the MLB team and Ryu reach an agreement.
If the Eagles decide to reject the bid, the posting will be withdrawn, and Ryu will not be able to enter the bidding until Nov. 1 next year.
Also, if the MLB club and Ryu fail to sign a contract, then Ryu will be prohibited from getting posted until Nov. 1, 2013.
Upon making Ryu available, the Eagles said they and the player agreed that only a bid deemed appropriate for a pitcher of Ryu's caliber would warrant a move to the big leagues. The team has said it has agreed not to disclose what would constitute such a bid, and on Monday, Ryu also declined to offer a specific amount of a worthy bid.
Ryu, a client of uber-agent Scott Boras, said he had no idea when he would receive a bid, if any, but said he expects the process to end within this week.
He said he hasn’t thought about which team he'd prefer to play for, but insisted he would like to be a starter in the big leagues.
“As soon as the bid is accepted, I will leave for the U.S. and meet my agent there,” Ryu said. “My agent will handle all salary negotiations that will come afterward.”
Since Ryu was made available, he was ranked 37th on the top 50 MLB free agents list on ESPN.com, and South Korean reports have said teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cleveland Indians have approached a local baseball statistics company for Ryu’s stats and pitch-related data.
ESPN erroneously listed Ryu's record this year as 6-6, instead of 9-9. The blurb on the pitcher raises questions about Ryu’s durability, even though he has averaged more than 181 innings per season and has pitched more than 200 innings a season twice.
Ryu said he doesn't concern himself with the foreign media coverage.