Ryu Gives Rays More Rotation Fodder














The Deal
Looking for another option at the back of their rotation, the Devil Rays acquired Jae-Kuk Ryu from the Cubs on Tuesday. In return, Chicago received a pair of minor leaguers, righthander Greg Reinhard and outfielder Andrew Lopez.
The Prospects
A 23-year-old righthander, Ryu signed for $1.6 million out of Korea in 2001. To this point, he has made more headlines for killing an osprey with a thrown baseball in 2003 than for his pitching. His stuff hasn’t been as sharp since he came down with elbow tendinitis in 2004, but he did reach the big leagues last year, going 0-1, 8.40 in 10 apperances (one start). He spent most of 2006 at Triple-A Iowa, going 8-8, 3.23 in 24 games (23 starts). He had a 114-51 K-BB ratio, .237 opponent average and 12 homers allowed in 139 innings there. Ryu’s best pitch is his changeup, and he also throws a high-80s fastball, a slider and a curveball. His command is more impressive than his stuff, though he nibbled too much in his first taste in the majors.

Reinhard, 23, was a 2005 sixth-round pick out of Wisconsin-Whitewater after winning the NCAA Division III strikeout title (146 in 104 innings) and D-III College World Series. He has a low-90s fastball that has touched 95 mph and an average slider. Reinhard also has a resilient arm and some scouts project him as a setup man down the road. He went 6-10, 4.50 in 27 games (26 starts) at low Class A Southwest Michigan last year. He had a 134-54 K-BB ratio in 142 innings, and held opponents to a .258 average and eight homers.

Lopez, 22, was an eighth-round pick out of a California high school in 2003. The Devil Rays loved his approach at the plate, and spent $300,000 (late third-round money) to sign him away from Long Beach State. Lopez has quick wrists and a line-drive stroke at the plate. His speed is fringy, but he’s a solid right fielder with a strong arm. He batted .256/.356/.402 with four homers, 27 RBIs and nine steals in 56 games at Rookie-level Princeton in 2006.

Quick Take
It’s a minor deal that makes sense for both times. The Devil Rays need big league pitching, and Ryu was well down the Cubs’ depth chart. Chicago scouting director Tim Wilken knows Reinhard and Lopez well, having drafted them while in the same job with the Devil Rays in 2005.

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