The Los Angeles Dodgers won the exclusive rights to negotiate with Korean left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, MLB.com reported Saturday.
The Hanwha Eagles announced they accepted a $25.75 million bid from the Dodgers for Ryu's rights. The Dodgers have a 30-day window to work out a deal for the 25-year-old star.
"We believe this figure is acceptable for the rights to the top ace in South Korea," the Eagles wrote on their official website, according to Agence France-Presse.
Ryu has been the top pitcher in the Korean Baseball Organization for several years.
The Dodgers declined to comment. The Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs also reportedly submitted significant bids. The Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels were also reportedly interested in Ryu.
Ryu was Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year in the KBO when he was 19 years old. He pitched Korea to the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics and helped Korea reach the finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
He went 9-9 with a 2.66 ERA last season for Hanwha, with 210 strikeouts in 182 2/3 innings. In seven years, he has a 2.80 ERA.
"I've made a step forward for a dream come true," Ryu said on the Eagles website, according to AFP.
A year ago, Japanese star right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish set a record by attracting a $51.7 million bid from the Texas Rangers. Texas then signed Darvish to a six-year, $56 million deal through 2017.
Ryu's bid ranks third overall among Asian players. The Boston Red Sox bid $51.1 million for right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006.
---Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann is expected to miss the first two to four weeks of the season after having shoulder surgery in October, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported Saturday.
Compounding McCann's loss is that backup catcher David Ross agreed to a two-year, $6.2 million deal with the Boston Red Sox.
The Braves have to find a catcher to fill in for McCann, who recently had his $12 million option picked up by the club. He is a free agent after the 2013 season.
The Braves have Christian Bethancourt, regarded as one of the best catching prospects in baseball, but he is just 21 and has not played above the Class AA level. He missed part of last season with a broken hand after getting hit with a pitch. The Braves reportedly are in no hurry to bring him up to the major league level.
He batted .243 with two home runs in 71 games this past season at Class AA Mississippi. He also hit .289 with five homers in 99 games with two Class-A teams in 2011.
The Braves also have a minor league power-hitting outfielder with catching experience in Evan Gattis. His strength, however, is hitting and not catching. Like Bethancourt, Gattis has not played above Class AA.
---The Boston Red Sox agreed to a two-year, $6.2 million contract with free agent backup catcher David Ross, ESPN.com reported Saturday.
The deal is pending a physical exam.
Ross spent the last four years with the Atlanta Braves. He hit .256 with nine home runs and 23 RBI in 62 games this past season.
He appeared in eight games for the Red Sox in 2008.
Ross also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds in his 11-year career.