Today we signed INF David Eckstein to a one-year deal and claimed RHP Jae Kuk Ryu off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Eckstein doesn't need much of an introduction. He has spent the past eight seasons in the big leagues, playing shortstop mostly with the Angels and Cardinals. Over those years he compiled a .284/.351/.361 line (including two World Series rings) while establishing his reputation as a winning player. David is a true grinder who is a very tough out and does all the little things well - a great example for our younger players. We expect him to play primarily 2B in 2009, which was his position in college and throughout the minor leagues (anyone know who played SS on David's college team?).
Jae Kuk Ryu is a 25-year old right-handed pitcher from Seoul, South Korea. Originally signed for $1.6 million by the Cubs in 2001, Ryu has spent parts of the past three seasons in the Majors with Chicago and Tampa Bay. His 2008 season ended prematurely, however, as he was shut down in May and had relatively minor elbow surgery in June. Ryu's fastball sits around 90 mph while reaching as high as 92, and he complements it with both a curveball and a changeup. According to our scouts, all of his pitches grade out as at least Major League average, and he can throw all three for strikes. Given his repertoire and success as a starter in the minor leagues, we believe Ryu can compete for a spot in our rotation or our pen. He has one minor league option remaining.
We still have just under a month to go before pitchers and catchers report and there are a lot of players still out there, so I would guess there will be more activity forthcoming.