Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu decided to accept the Dodgers‘ $17.9 million qualifying offer on Monday afternoon, prospectively setting Los Angeles up with one of the most formidable starting rotations in the National League.
During the 2018 regular season, Ryu made 15 starts and posted a 9-7 record, leading the entire club with a 1.97 ERA. He was instrumental in holding the staff together for the first few weeks of the season after the rotation suffered numerous injuries, and he made a brilliant comeback after severely ripping a groin muscle in late April. In the 2018 postseason, Ryu made four starts and threw an even 19 innings. His best start of the playoffs came in the NLDS against the Braves when he tossed seven shutout innings, striking out eight while surrendering just four hits and no walks.
After recording double-digit wins in each of his first two seasons, Ryu had shoulder surgery and missed his entire 2015 campaign, returning late in 2016 only to reaggravate his shoulder problems. The 31-year-old made 24 starts in 2017, tallying a not-so-impressive 5-9 record with a 3.77 ERA. However, if he performs close to the numbers he put up in 2018, he could be one of the leaders of the entire staff.
Ryu joins a prospective rotation consisting of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Rich Hill and Julio Urias, with swing men Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Caleb Ferguson and Dennis Santana waiting in the wings.
Catcher Yasmani Grandal declined the QO, certain that he’ll draw more lucrative and lengthier offers from multiple squads around the league. Although it’s unlikely, it’s still possible the Dodgers offer him a multi-year deal, if only for the sake of trying to bridge the gap to future backstops Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz.
Grandal was a finalist for the 2018 Silver Slugger Award, which was eventually given to J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins. The 30-year-old native of Cuba hit .241/.349/.466 with 24 long balls during the 2018 regular season, but was once again benched in the early stages of the World Series because of his many defensive woes with the glove.
Grandal has seven full years of experience as he enters free agency. His 43 passed balls since 2014 lead the entire majors.
Should Grandal sign elsewhere this winter, the Dodgers will receive a pick between the second and third round of the 2019 draft as compensation.