Dodgers add Greinke, South Korea’s Ryu to rotation
LOS ANGELES — Flush with cash after the team’s sale this year, the Los Angeles Dodgers are busy spending it on starting pitching.
The team introduced left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin of South Korea on Monday, making him the first player ever to go directly from the Korean league to the major leagues.
And he was just the setup man.
The Dodgers finalized a $147 million, six-year deal with free agent right-hander Zack Greinke later in the day.
“We were definitely hoping for Zack,” said Magic Johnson, a partner in Guggenheim Baseball Management which bought the team last spring. “Zack is a proven winner. When you put him together with Clayton, man, we feel really good.”
The deals for Greinke and Ryu give the Dodgers eight starting pitchers under contract for next season, joining 2011 NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang.
That doubles the number of starters the Dodgers had just two years ago.
The Dodgers were eager to bolster their pitching this winter knowing that Billingsley (elbow) and Lilly (shoulder) are coming off surgeries.
Johnson called 2009 AL Cy Young winner Greinke “the big one.”
Greinke split last season with Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Angels. He went a combined 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 34 starts, and finished the season going 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA in his last eight starts after Aug. 24.
The 29-year-old pitcher spent his only full season in the NL in 2011, tying a career high with 16 wins.
Greinke pitched from 2004-10 with Kansas City, going 16-8 with a major league-leading 2.16 ERA in 2009 when he won the Cy Young and made the All-Star team.
Ryu signed a $36 million, six-year deal after talks went down to the final seconds of the negotiating window a day earlier.
The Dodgers paid $25.7 million for the right to negotiate with Ryu, whose agent is Scott Boras. If they hadn’t reached a deal by Sunday’s 2 p.m. PST deadline, Ryu would have returned to the Hanwha Eagles, and the Dodgers would have been refunded the posting fee they paid for exclusive rights to negotiate with the 25-year-old pitcher.
reliever Grilli to 2-year deal
PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates re-signed free agent reliever Jason Grilli to a two-year contract worth $6.75 million.
The 36-year-old Grilli has enjoyed a career renaissance in Pittsburgh since originally signing with the Pirates in July 2011. He went 1-6 with a 2.91 ERA in 64 games in 2012 and struck out 13.8 batters per nine innings, fourth-best in the National League.
The signing also gives the Pirates some flexibility in the bullpen next year in case it ever decides to part ways with closer Joel Hanrahan.
Grilli has spent the majority of his career as a middle reliever but has struggled staying healthy until arriving in Pittsburgh. He has been a mainstay in the seventh and eighth innings with the Pirates because of his ability to get strikeouts in key situations.
Ludwick signs 2-year,
$15 million deal with Reds
CINCINNATI — Ryan Ludwick left the Reds to see if there was a better deal available on the free agent market. He found at least one, but turned it down to stay with Cincinnati.
The left fielder signed a two-year, $15 million deal on Monday that includes a mutual option for the 2015 season. He agreed to the contract over the weekend and came for the formal announcement.
White Sox announce
3-year deal with Keppinger
CHICAGO — Jeff Keppinger isn’t sure where he’ll play with the White Sox. He is certain Chicago is the place for him, though.
The White Sox announced a three-year, $12 million contract with Keppinger on Monday after reaching an agreement last week, adding a versatile infielder who could fill a hole at third base.
“I really like that city,” he said on a conference call. “I thought it would be a good fit for me.”
Keppinger is set to earn $3.5 million next season, $4 million in 2014 and $4.5 million in 2015 after hitting a career-high .325 in 115 games with Tampa Bay last season. He made 41 starts at third base, 23 at second, 21 at first and 19 as the designated hitter. The White Sox have an opening at third and there’s a good chance he’ll wind up there even though he never discussed that with them. Kevin Youkilis finished last season at the position for Chicago and is now a free agent.
Tigers agree to deal
with C Pena to back up Avila
DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers have agreed to a one-year contract with catcher Brayan Pena.
Pena had a .236 batting average with two homers and 25 RBIs in 68 games last season for the Kansas City Royals. He hit .320 in 50 at-bats with runners in scoring position last season. He has hit .248 with 14 homers and 98 RBIs over eight seasons with the Royals and Atlanta Braves.
The 30-year-old Pena will back up Alex Avila behind the plate.
Otani to stay in Japan
instead of going to MLB
TOKYO — High school pitcher Shohei Otani decided on Sunday to stay in Japan instead of immediately pursuing a career in Major League Baseball.
Otani had said before November’s draft he intended to go to the major leagues straight out of high school, where the 6-foot-4 right-hander’s fastball was clocked at close to 100 mph.
Despite his intentions, the 18-year-old Otani was selected by the Nippon Ham Fighters in the first round.