LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers signed South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin to a $36 million, six-year deal on Sunday, bolstering their starting rotation for next year.
The team and Ryu (Ree-YOO He-YUN Jin) had until 2 p.m. PST to reach an agreement or else the left-hander would have returned home and the Dodgers would have been refunded the $25.7 million fee they paid for exclusive rights to negotiate with him.
Ryu becomes the first player to go directly from the Korea Baseball Organization to the U.S. big leagues, and he's expected to join a strong rotation that includes 2011 NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang. The Dodgers also are trying to sign free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke.
Ryu's agent, Scott Boras, said last month he was confident a deal could be struck with the Dodgers, whose new ownership has shown a willingness to spend money on new players.
"He has the ability to command the fastball from 90-95 mph and his changeup is a very elite weapon for him," Boras said at the time. "And he has a quality slider and curveball."
The 25-year-old pitcher has spent seven seasons with the Hanwha Eagles in the Korean league and was an All-Star each year. He was rookie of the year and MVP of the league at age 19, and is 98-52 with a 2.80 ERA in his career.
Last season, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder was 9-9 with a 2.66 ERA in 27 games.