Hyun-jin Ryu, 36, is a free agent. His four-year, $80 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays expires this year. In 60 career games with Toronto, Ryu went 24-15 with a 3.97 ERA. This is a satisfactory result considering that he was playing in the American League East, a division that includes the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
All eyes are now on Ryu’s future. Ryu can choose to stay in the Major Leagues or return to the KBO. There are certain criteria for staying in the major leagues, but it’s entirely up to him.토토사이트
There are definitely teams that want him in the majors. The increased emphasis on bullpen arms hasn’t made starting pitchers any less valuable. In particular, proven “left-handed” pitchers like Ryu are hard to come by. Ryu’s agent, Scott Boras, also emphasized that Ryu will be pitching in the United States next year, not South Korea. Boras has a reputation for pushing his players, but he doesn’t do it in a public statement to just anyone.
This is a different story. In 2019, Ryu led all major league pitchers with a 2.32 ERA. He was a top starter on a championship contender. But now, time has passed. Age is an important factor in free agency. On a team that is preparing to win a championship, he can be a top starter, but on a team that needs to win now, he needs to be a backup to a top starter. Ryu acknowledges that things have changed, and he understands that.
The question mark for Ryu locally is durability. In 2021, Ryu threw 169 innings to reach the required number of innings (162), but since coming to the majors in 2013, Ryu has only had three seasons in which he reached the required number of innings. Those were in 2013 (192 innings) and 2019 (182⅔ innings) before 2021. While he returned from elbow ligament reconstruction surgery this year after 14 months, there are concerns about the pitcher’s second elbow ligament reconstruction surgery in his mid-30s. So every time we make an assumption about Ryu, it comes with a “if he’s healthy” caveat.
Given these factors, any offer Ryu receives will likely be a short-term deal. If it’s for more than two years, expect an option. When it comes to contracts, it’s all about risk. The challenge is to reduce the risky variables. If age and durability are the stumbling blocks for Ryu, the approach will be to minimize the damage.
Drew Smyly (34), a left-handed pitcher like Ryu, is in his 12th year in the majors. He hasn’t won any awards, but he’s still in the majors. After undergoing elbow ligament reconstruction surgery in 2017, additional injuries kept him off the mound in 2017-18. Even after returning in 2019, he posted a dismal 6.24 ERA in 25 games (21 starts), and 2020 was an untested year due to the coronavirus. Nevertheless, he received a one-year, $11 million contract from the Atlanta Braves in 2021. Smiley was 32 years old at the time.
Rich Hill, 43, is another veteran who proves that age is just a number. He made his debut in 2005, but injuries and poor play kept him out of the organization for a long time. After playing in the independent leagues in 2015, Hill signed with the Boston Red Sox at the end of the regular season and appeared in four games, but the Oakland Athletics signed him to a one-year, $6 million contract the following year. Hill capitalized on the opportunity and signed a three-year, $48 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2016 season. Hill was 36 years old when he signed with the Dodgers, the same age as Ryu. Hill is also popular as a mentor to younger players, which is something that Ryu has in abundance.
Major League Baseball still sees Ryu as a “major league pitcher”. There are definitely teams interested. Ryu is not in a position to hang on. He has a choice to make.