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Saturday Morning Breakfast and Baseball: Korean Pitching, Surprise At The Dentist, LEEEEEEW, Tigers Closers, and 3 Strikes = You're Out

Today's B&B looks at Korean LHP Ryu Hyun-Jin being posted, Steve Johnson getting a (good) surprise when he visited the dentist, our inability to quit Lew Ford, the Tigers making a gutsy choice on their 2013 closer, and how baseball helped define some laws around America today.

Jim Rogash

News on the Twins front is not necessarily quiet, but it hasn't been very exciting, either. They have apparently contacted about 8 different pitchers (or so it feels) about contracts, including Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy, and even going so far to talk with the agent for Randy Messenger who's over in Japan, but they have not received any bites yet. To be honest, that might work to their advantage, as contract demands will likely go down as the offseason moves along.

  • Speaking of searching the globe for starting pitching, Korean lefthander Ryu Hyun-Jin was recently posted by the Hanwha Eagles of the KBO. The Korean posting system is fairly similar to the Japanese one, and it was recently announced that the winning bid was $25,737,737. It's probably a safe bet that the Twins did NOT win the bid, as that amount of money would be more than Josh Willingham's entire free agent contract, but hey, there's still a chance. Anyway, it's more likely that your usual culprits are involved, so let's see if the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, or any other large payroll team end up receiving the exclusive negotiating rights with the 25-year old Hyun-Jin.
  • Count me as one of the few people in this world that doesn't mind going to the dentist. It may have something to do with the fact that my dentist is one of the nicest people in the world, and with my dad being a doctor, I've been desensitized to sterile white walls ever since I was 5 years old. Well, Orioles rookie pitcher Steve Johnson had to make a visit to the dentist recently, and he was greeted by a nice surprise - everyone in the office was wearing a Steve Johnson shirsey. Hey, if you put up a 2.11 ERA and over 10 K/9 in nearly 40 innings during your rookie season, maybe your local dentist will put on your shirsey as well (I'm looking at you, Brandon Warne).
  • Us Twins fans sure made Lew Ford returning to the majors a really big deal, but our excitement was a bit overblown as he hit only .183/.256/.352 in his first action since 2007. However, we can rejoice once more as the Orioles announced that after dropping Ford from their 40-man roster, they re-signed him to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. We're not booing, we're LEEEEEEEEEEEEWing.
  • After living through Jose Valverde's antics for the past season, the Tigers have chosen to go cheap with their closer for next year. They've already decided that minor league reliever Bruce Rondon will be their 2013 closer, and we haven't even reached spring training yet! Rondon is 21 years old, throws very hard, and strikes out a lot of hitters. When he first joined the Tigers organization in 2009, he was promoted very slowly, making it to A-ball after just over 2 years. However, he suddenly has shot up the ranks of the minors, as he went from High-A to Double-A to Triple-A just in the span of the past season. Quite a meteoric rise for the kid, so it will be interesting to see if he can handle the big leagues. Well, as a Twins fan, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Josh Willingham rough him up a bit, but regardless it will be interesting to monitor how Rondon pitches next year.
  • We're all familiar with the "3 strikes and you're out" phrase even without baseball. Perhaps you heard it from your parents as a kid as a means of discipline. Well, there are also laws around the country that have escalating penalties for repeat offenders, and that leads us to Gideon Cohn-Postar, who wonders out loud if some of these "3 Strikes" laws would have been different had the game of baseball not decided upon 3 strikes for a strikeout. He mentions that the number of balls for a walk has varied, and yet the number of strikes remained consistent the entire time. It's an interesting article of rhetorical questions that doesn't really have an answer, but it's still fun to think that a game helped create some of the laws in America.