“Ryu Hyun-jin, a perfect fit for TEX that missed Kershaw.” U.S. media highly recommended, resources to fill the gap between deGrom and Scherzer

February 8, 2024 | by

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (36) chose the friendly team instead of the hometown team. The name of Ryu Hyun-jin (37), a free agent, is emerging as a substitute for Ryu.

U.S. media SportsKida said on the 7th (Korea time), “Kershaw, who had the possibility of going to the Texas Rangers, chose to make a comeback for the LA Dodgers,” adding, “Ryu Hyun-jin can be an ideal player for last year’s World Series championship team (Texas).”

Citing sources, U.S. media outlets including the official Major League website reported on the same day that Clayton Kershaw agreed to renew his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kershaw will play as a Dodgers man for 17 seasons. The contract reportedly includes options that players can exercise during the 2025 season. As a result, Kershaw can choose whether to extend his contract.

After the end of the last season, Kershaw had three options: staying with the Dodgers, retiring and moving to Texas. It is not a surprise that Kershaw, who had a good record last season, will stay with the Dodgers, but now that he is in his mid-30s, the story of his retirement was unexpected. Having undergone surgery on his left shoulder after the end of the last season, Kershaw will not be able to return until this summer. He is also likely to return later than expected given that he hurt his dangerous shoulder at the age of 36. On top of that, after his team was eliminated from the Arizona Diamondbacks and National League Division Series last year with all three losses, he said, “I don’t know yet. I don’t know what to say.”

In contrast, rumors of a transfer to Texas have been steadily raised. Kershaw, a native of Dallas, Texas, has been steadily expected to sign a contract with his hometown team Texas. Analysts said that despite his outstanding performance and symbolism, he signed short-term contracts in succession in 2022 and 2023. Some said he would likely go to Texas ahead of the 2022 season, but he signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers in March when the Major League’s lockout was lifted.

“Kershaw has long declared that he will end his career in his hometown with his family. Joining Texas is a good opportunity,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Kershaw himself told in an interview at the end of 2022, “There are only two teams that I can play for. This is no secret,” vowing to wear Dodgers and Texas jerseys only.

However, Kershaw had a strong image as a Dodgers pitcher. Since his debut in the big league in 2008, Kershaw has played 2,712 ⅔ innings in 425 games, recording 210 wins, 92 losses, 2944 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.48. In the Dodgers’ long history, Kershaw has been ranked at the top in most major indices, including pitcher WAR (77.1, baseball reference), multiple wins, strikeouts, fifth inning, and third starting pitcher (422 games).

On top of that, transferring to Texas was also difficult in reality. Texas Rangers, last year’s World Series champion, has yet to sign a contract with left-hander Jordan Montgomery (32), one of the leading players in the championship. However, currently, there are two pitchers with big names like Max Scherzer (40) and Jacob deGrom (36), as well as Kershaw. As it was difficult for them to play in the opening game like Kershaw, synergy effect was not possible. As a result, there was no sign that Texas showed interest in Kershaw.

Anyway, Texas failed to catch Kershaw. And two ace players are expected to return only in the summer. According to ESPN, deGrom attended Texas’ recent fan festival and jokingly announced his plan to return, saying, “If we (DeGrom and Max Scherzer) return in time for the trade deadline, it would be like recruiting the two players.” DeGrom underwent Tommy John surgery after going on the disabled list in April last year, and Scherzer also underwent back disc surgery after the World Series ended last year.

He has yet to sign a contract with Montgomery. Montgomery contributed to the Texas Rangers winning the World Series last year. Since moving to Texas last year, Montgomery has pitched well with four wins and 2.79 ERA in 11 games, and contributed to his team’s victory in the World Series by pitching well with two wins and no losses with a 1.29 ERA in Houston and the Championship Series.

Texas Rangers, the winner of last year’s World Series, is not in perfect shape yet. On the Texas Depth chart provided by , the starting rotation consisted of Nathan Iboldi, Andrew Heaney, Dane Dunning, John Gray, and Tyler Mahle. Iboldi is a player who can take the first place in the starting lineup without deGrom and Scherzer. In last year’s regular season, he performed well with 12 wins and five losses with a 3.63 ERA, although his innings were as few as 144 innings, and in six postseason games, he displayed good performance as a “big game pitcher” with five wins and no losses with a 2.95 ERA.

The rest of the players are not bad, either. Korean pitcher Dunning pitched 172 ⅔ in 35 games (26 starts) last year, marking the career high in four seasons since his debut in the big league. Left-hander Heaney also pitched the most innings (147 ⅓) in his career in five years, recording 10 wins and 4.15 ERA. Gray and Mahle also had full-time starting experience, so the Texas Rangers have observed their starting lineup.

However, this alone is hardly enough to win the hearts and minds of the public. Five starters are hardly enough to play a full season. On top of that, there is no guarantee that deGrom and Scherzer, already in their mid-30s, will make a comeback in good health. Hence, media outlets have aggressively called for the recruitment of Ryu.

The Texas Rangers could sign a short-term contract with Ryu next season, the media said. The media, which introduced his history of Tommy John surgery in 2022, said that he is reportedly working out in Korea to build up his body normally.

Ryu Hyun-jin can be an ideal fit for Texas, which is trying to create a new team in 2024, he said. “For Texas, which is currently expected to have only one left-hander (Hini) in the regular season rotation, it can help balance the starting lineup.”

If Ryu chooses to join the Texas Rangers, he will become the fourth Korean to join the team. Park Chan-ho (51, retired) played from 2002 to 2005, while Choo Shin-soo (42, current SSG) also signed a seven-year contract and played from 2014 to 2020. Yang Hyun-jong (36, current KIA) also took the mound for one season in 2021.

Ryu returned to the Toronto Blue Jays in August last year after Tommy John surgery, and continued to play five innings as a starter. He pitched in 11 games this season, recording 3 wins, 3 losses and an ERA of 3.46, signaling a healthy return. Although his fastball average speed (88.6 miles) was down from 89.9 miles in 2021 before the surgery, he displayed his potential by displaying seasoned pitching. 라바카지노주소

As Ryu underwent surgery at the age of mid-30s, he can’t expect to throw 180 to 190 innings each. However, if Ryu plays just five innings every game at the fifth-line position, recruiting team will be of great help. Few pitchers can play the rotation at a cheaper price. “Ryu Hyun-jin will be able to receive a one-year contract period including incentives, totaling about 8 million dollars,” former columnist Jim Bowden of the MLB told The Athletic.

As of early February, Ryu Hyun-jin is considered second only to Montgomery, Blake Snell, and left-handed top two players in the FA market. MLB Trade Rumors, which specializes in Major League transfer news, said on the 3rd that except for Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery, the best left-handed pitchers among FA players, Ryu Hyun-jin and Michael Lorenzen remain as the next best option. Sean Munaya of the New York Mets, James Paxton of the Dodgers, and Alex Wood of the Oakland Athletics, who were considered rivals, have found their teams.

MLB Deadline News, an SNS account that specializes in Major League Baseball news, recently introduced the value rankings of FA pitchers that remain in the market. In the rankings based on the forecast of “War (contributing to victory over replacement) for the 2024 season” by FanGraph, a baseball statistics site, Ryu ranked third with expectations of 1.8 WAR, followed by Snell (3.3) and Montgomery (3.2). This is higher than Kershaw (1.7).

“Obviously, his heyday is over, but his profile still has strong hopes for a starting pitcher,” said of Ryu. After Tommy John surgery in June 2022, Ryu returned to the mound in August last year and pitched 11 times. He is far from dominant in 2018-2020 (ERA 2.30 starting pitcher in 56 games), but he still has the ability to be a good starting pitcher.

“The elephant in the room (a metaphorical expression for an important problem) is the history of injury. Besides surgery in 2022, Ryu also missed most of the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to tendinitis in his left shoulder,” he said. “Since 2017, he has exceeded 100 innings in three of the seven seasons. He turned 37 years old before the opening day, and his four-seam fastball speed dropped to a career low of 88.4 miles (142.3 kilometers).”


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