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Boras ready to talk terms for Ryu

Boras ready to talk terms for Ryu

Boras ready to talk terms for Ryu
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Agent Scott Boras kept the rhetoric to a minimum on Thursday as he introduced Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin, but he dropped enough hints that the Dodgers know their $25.7 million posting bid for exclusive negotiation rights is just the start.

Boras said that he and general manager Ned Colletti have a face-to-face meeting set for next week, during which they'll talk terms for the 25-year-old lefty, whom Boras compared with Japanese imports Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish, a pitcher who can step into a major role on a contending team immediately.

"He can jump in and be a third starter on a championship-caliber Major League team," said Boras. "He comes with a great pedigree. This is a rare opportunity."

The bid for Ryu, $25,737,737.33, ranks third among posting bids submitted for Asian players, behind $51.7 million for Darvish and $51.1 million for Matsuzaka.

Boras said that the winning bid -- which goes to the Hanwha Eagles only if the Dodgers sign Ryu -- was significantly less than the bids needed to win the rights to Matsuzaka and Darvish because the visibility for Korean pitchers is less than that for Japanese pitchers.

"Had he pitched in Japan, his posting fee would be in accord with the dominant Japanese pitchers," Boras said.

Boras wouldn't reveal an asking price, but Matsuzaka received $52 million for six years from Boston and Darvish was given $56 million for six years from Texas.

"As a player I want to get as much value for myself," said Ryu. "I feel the Dodgers are a good team, and I hope the Dodgers treat [me] well."

The way the Dodgers are spending lately, they'll likely treat Ryu very well. Club president Stan Kasten pointed out this week that the Dodgers have until Dec. 10, after the Winter Meetings, to sign Ryu or lose him to Korea.

Whether or not it's posturing, Kasten's comment implies that the Dodgers could sign Hiroki Kuroda and/or another free-agent pitcher instead, although Boras essentially rejected any conspiracy theories.

"They won the rights, and what they do with it is up to them," Boras said. "I don't think in any way they entered the process with any motive other than to get better. The current ownership has taken steps that illustrate an attempt to improve at every level -- Draft, trade, free agent and, in this case, internationally."

After speaking dismissively of the Dodgers in recent years because of their frugal ways, Boras acknowledges the new ownership.

"By their conduct the Dodgers intend to be one of the Goliaths, if not the leading Goliath of the game," he said. "It's a very different world than it was the previous era."

Ryu spoke through an interpreter at a news conference held in the lobby of Boras' office, a gathering that was attended by about 40 members of the media, most of them Korean. Several times he cited the vibrant Korean community in Los Angeles and the influence of Chan Ho Park, signed by the Dodgers in 1994 and the first Korean Major Leaguer.

"Chan Ho was very influential to me and very helpful, and [giving] me insight into playing in the Major Leagues and giving me the dream to play in the Major Leagues," he said. "As a baseball alumni, he's teaching me the ropes."

In 2006, Ryu was the first player to win MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season in Korea, going 18-6. He averaged 15 wins a season until this season, when the Eagles finished last and he had only nine wins and a 2.66 ERA, striking out 210 over 182 2/3 innings. He has a 2.80 ERA over his seven-year career in Korea.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Ryu is a strikeout pitcher with a fastball in the low 90s, as well as a changeup and slider. He helped Korea reach the finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic and win the gold medal in the 2008 Olympic Games.

Ryu -- whose body was compared by Boras with that of Mark Buehrle -- sets preseason goals and, while declining to give a specific number, said he's looking for "double digits" in victories his rookie season. He will wear No. 99, made popular by Manny Ramirez.

"Obviously, there's pressure in all of baseball," said Ryu, who has a brother living in New Jersey. "From my experience in Korea, I have no doubt I can succeed in the U.S. American players are bigger. If I think of the way I pitched at Daejeon Stadium, nothing is different about baseball."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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