Ryu Hyun-jin ranks eighth in the remaining FA rankings and points to seven former U.S. general managers… “SD also deserves a risk.”

February 14, 2024 | by

Ryu Hyun-jin (37), who has yet to decide which uniform he will play in 2024, is still receiving favorable reviews. Local media say that Ryu could be helpful in starting rotation of several teams. While San Diego fans still want Ryu, attention is focusing on which team will offer Ryu and what choice he will make in the end.

The 2023-2024 Major League Free Agent (FA) market continues. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, who will start the season earlier than other teams due to the Major League World Tour Seoul Series at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on March 21 and 22, have already begun spring training. Other teams will also have pitchers and catchers gathering around the 15th, and five days later, even fielders will be officially called up to prepare for the season.

Nevertheless, the destination of FA’s big fish has yet to be decided, drawing attention from many people. Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery, who were immediately selected as the left-hander’s biggest fish, Cody Bellinger, one of the outfield’s biggest fish, and Matt Chapman, who had no doubt as the biggest infield’s biggest fish, all remain uncontracted. They are all affiliated with Boras Corporation, a leading agency in the Major League. It is believed that Ryu Hyun-jin, who also has Scott Boras as his agent, is also closely monitoring market conditions and making final offers.

Although the contract has been delayed, it is not a market that feels very dry. There are still a lot of teams in the market that have not completed reinforcement of their starters. However, the starting FA market has already been almost settled. Snell and Montgomery are expected to be between $100 million and $200 million based on the total amount, and the market is somewhat organized. Players such as Ryu Hyun-jin, Michael Lorenzen, and Mike Clevinger are running next in the market. The market is divided, but Ryu is expected to be a major target for teams that need to strengthen their starting rotation, although it is difficult to spend money in terms of being a left-hander.

The most notable team is the San Diego Padres, where Korean players such as Kim Ha-sung and Ko Woo-seok are already playing. The San Diego Padres are tightening their belts this off-season due to financial pressure surrounding the team. With many stars already leaving the team, efforts are being made to keep the team’s annual salary below $200 million. Nevertheless, it is absolutely necessary to strengthen the starting lineup. Snell, Michael Waka, and Seth Lugo, who played in last year’s team’s starting rotation, have all left, and now they are feeling more anxious both quantitatively and qualitatively.

The outfield has put out the urgent fire by bringing in Jurickson Profar on the 13th, but the reinforcement of the starter is still in progress. San Diego general manager A.J. Preller also said in an interview with local media on the 14th (Korea time) that he is open to strengthening the starting lineup. San Diego fans are also pointing to Ryu Hyun-jin as a realistic target given the situation in San Diego. Ryu Hyun-jin is suitable as a player to support Darvish Yu and Joe Musgrove. The logic is that although you don’t have to spend a lot of money, if you’re healthy, you’re a player with a class, and if you’re healthy, you can earn enough time for young players to grow.

“Friars on Base,” a San Diego fan column site, said on the 14th (Korea time) that Ryu Hyun-jin is a risk-taking recruit, dealing with San Diego’s major off-season goals. “Many people wonder how the Padres will fill the inning with their rotation in 2024. Darvish Yu, Joe Musgrove and Michael King are currently scheduled to be in the rotation, but young players seem to be pinning their hopes on playing meaningful innings in the upcoming season,” analyzed the current starting rotation situation of San Diego.

The Friars on Base said, “However, an option that San Diego should consider is to add Ryu Hyun-jin as a free agent. Ryu made it to the top three in the Cy Young Award voting twice,” explaining Ryu’s career. In fact, Ryu made a comeback by overcoming a shoulder injury, and spent a splendid heyday by ranking second in the National League Cy Young Award voting in 2019 and third in the American League Cy Young Award voting in 2020. All of them were accomplished in their early and mid 30s.

The “Friars on Base” said, “There is a risk to adding Ryu Hyun-jin. Since 2015, Ryu has undergone several surgeries including Tommy John surgery, which resulted in the loss of much of the 2022 and 2023 seasons for the Blue Jays. “Any pitcher has a unique risk of injury, but Ryu’s risk is high,” he said, adding, “If he has to work hard to become a team that secures competitiveness in brutal sectors such as the Padres (meaning the National League West), it is a risk that they have to take at this point in time. If he is healthy and able to recover, Ryu could be in front of the rotation at a significant discounted price. Given that recent news reports link the two players (San Diego and Ryu Hyun-jin), it is expected that they could be seen on San Diego’s radar.”

Jim Borden, a former Major League Baseball general manager and columnist for The Athletic, also placed Ryu Hyun-jin at No. 8 overall in the rankings of players remaining in the FA market as of the 14th. In Borden’s rankings, Blake Snell topped the list, and Jordan Montgomery ranked second, followed by Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, J.D. Martinez, Wit Merrifield, Mike Clevinger, and Ryu Hyun-jin. In terms of starters alone, he ranks fourth after Snell, Montgomery, and Clevinger. Given that many teams have difficult access to Snell and Montgomery, it can be interpreted as the second-largest cost-effective starter.

“Ryu Hyun-jin returned from Tommy John surgery in August, impressing the rest of the season, and he pitched in 11 games and allowed fewer than three runs in nine games. He pitched five innings in six of those games, and in one game, he pitched a season-high six innings. His fastballs were mostly at 87-89 mph. His opponents recorded a batting average of 0.276 against his changeup and 0.238 against the cutter,” Borden said in a brief summary of his comeback performance after elbow surgery.

Borden continued, “Ryu Hyun-jin looks healthy, but he will have to accept a one-year contract because he is at risk of injury. If he can pitch in the first half of 2023, it might be wise to sign him with a non-competitive team that could trade him at the trade deadline,” adding, “It could make sense for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals, and Oakland Athletics. Or, contender teams with multiple starting pitchers at high risk of injury, age issues, or a downward trend could use him in terms of depth in their rotation. The New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, or St. Louis Cardinals could be the right fit for that.” 밤알바

In fact, Pittsburgh, Washington and Oakland are not competing teams for the championship. However, the team is undergoing rebuilding and needs to strengthen its starting rotation. If Ryu is able to continue his performance in the second half of 2023 into the first half of 2024, he could use his trade card ahead of the trade deadline in July. Some teams that compete for the championship will also have vacancies in the starting rotation, so he could sign a deal to win a promising player by using Ryu as a trade card. In this case, these teams can receive a promising player while paying about half of Ryu’s annual salary.

Or, Boden argues that it is possible for teams that have a starting rotation with many injury variables to recruit Ryu for insurance and use it in their rotation. Championship teams should keep their starting rotation stable throughout the season. It is true that Ryu is also at risk of injury, but as he returned from elbow surgery last year, there is no concern about his elbow. If he is healthy, Ryu can save 120-140 innings with relatively stable performance. In fact, Ryu has an ERA of 3.46 in 11 games since his return last year, even when his elbow may not be complete. He is still useful in many ways.

Some say that Ryu’s contract is approaching. Major League teams can use the 60-day injured list from Friday. If players with long-term injuries are transferred to the 60-day injured list, they can secure a spot on the 40-day roster. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, which start their season to participate in the Seoul Series ahead of other teams, are using the 60-day injured list faster than other teams. Attention is focusing on whether it will be time for teams that want to recruit Ryu to move forward.


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