What Lies Ahead for Hyun-Jin Ryu?

(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

With the conclusion of the 2019 World Series this week comes the beginning of the winter hot stove season. Before long, free agents and trade rumors will soar to the top of the MLB headlines. And, based on all the chatter so far, the Dodgers will be one of those clubs at the forefront.

In some shape or form, Los Angeles will change the landscape of its roster. It may not be a huge overhaul, as boss Andrew Friedman may want to stick with the formula that last season produced the best record in franchise history. However, it may be that exact formula that’s preventing the Dodgers from having the extra boost needed to secure its first World Championship in more than 30 years.

One player who will impact the 2020 roster either directly or indirectly is lefty starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. If Ryu signs elsewhere during the offseason, it would be a sign that Friedman and the Dodgers have faith in their younger starting pitchers to guide the team to its eighth consecutive NL West division title. If Los Angeles somehow signs Ryu to a deal, though, the Dodgers could potentially be considered as having one of the best rotations before a pitch is thrown in the 2020 season.

If there’s one advantage for the Dodgers, it’s that Ryu absolutely loves Los Angeles. Last winter, his liking for Southern California certainly played a huge factor in his acceptance of the team’s $17.9 million qualifying offer.

If there’s a disadvantage, it’s that the 32-year-old South Korean native is represented by Scott Boras, who will undoubtedly be aiming to score the longest, most lucrative contract for his client.

The World Series isn’t even over yet, and Boras is already doing some preliminary campaigning.

“He had a Cy Young season. He was the best pitcher in the league,” Boras said recently. “We’re really excited about his future and we’re just beginning to see the real Ryu.”

Indeed, Ryu is arguably coming off his best campaign since arriving stateside.

He led MLB in ERA with 2.32 while throwing 182 2/3 innings, his most since 192 innings as a rookie in 2013. He also tied his career high with 14 wins. Not only did he appear in his first-ever All-Star game, but he was also the starting pitcher for the National League. He’s also among the front-runners for the 2019 NL Cy Young Award. If he is named the winner, there’s no question his price tag will inflate immediately.

Despite his recent success, general managers across baseball will definitely consider Ryu’s vast injury history. After combining for 56 starts during the the 2013 and 2014 seasons, he missed the entire 2015 season when he had shoulder surgery.

Ryu was scheduled to return during 2016 spring camp, but the injury never mended properly. Following numerous unsuccessful throwing programs, he finally began to throw hard late in the summer and made a big league start against the Padres in July.  Nevertheless, elbow soreness ultimately led to an arthroscopic debridement procedure, which would eventually shut him down for the remainder of the 2016 season.

The lefty made 24 starts in 2017, but missed a big portion of the 2018 season after suffering a groin injury that saw almost an entire muscle being torn from the bone. That year, he made just 15 regular-season starts.

Regardless, Boras seems to believe that Ryu’s injuries are behind him, saying that the left-hander is finally at “100 percent, physically.”

“He is, age-wise, 32, but the truth is, innings-wise, he’s probably about 26 or 27, because he doesn’t have many innings on his arm,” Boras said. “That makes him very valuable.”

As far as numbers go, some outlets are speculating that Ryu will receive a contract in excess of five years and $125 million. My thoughts are that rival clubs will be weary of the injuries from his past, reducing those numbers significantly. I realize it’s a low figure—especially for a Cy Young candidate—but my guess is that he’ll settle late for a three-year deal in the range of $65-75 million.

If those numbers hold true, Friedman may have a shot more than anyone else.

Or, maybe, he doesn’t have any interest in signing Ryu at all.


13 thoughts on “What Lies Ahead for Hyun-Jin Ryu?

  1. A five year contract for 125/ mil when hell freezes over not even 3 years for 65-75 not going to happen.
    I say let him walk we have lots of choices to start Bullpen ,Bullpen,Bullpen. That is where I’m spending my money. Lindor maybe but not giving up Verdugo,May etc

  2. “We’re really excited about his future and we’re just beginning to see the real Ryu.”


    Ryu isn’t likely to repeat what he just did and he surely won’t do it for 5 years. He got paid well this year. I’d do it again next year, and then a nice thank you for your service second year with incentives and then a can you do it again team option year. Bora$$ won’t allow it so he’s probably gone.

  3. This is Boras being Boras folks. The opening salvo is always ridiculous. We all agree that no one will give Ryu 5 years and most offers will come in at 3. I’m guessing that one or two clubs might go a fourth year but depending on who and where they are, Ryu might settle for three years from someone. Even though Ryu is soft spoken and hardly a pushy type, he will make his own decision. Boras will not dictate what he does, although he might try. AF (if he even makes an offer) will have an advantage if dollars are fairly close. The Angels are desperate and I’m betting that Ryu wouldn’t mind moving to Orange County if the deal was right. Very few of us seem to think we’ll be in on Cole but if Andrew doesn’t make a substantial offer to Ryu there are trade possibilities that we haven’t even thought of. I just don’t see him starting the year depending on Urias, May and Gonsolin to make up a big part of the rotation, even though that may come to pass by year’s end.

    1. How so Scoop?

      Glad you asked.

      The Major League Strike Zone:


      The strike zone has been misinterpreted since Abner was a minnow. The strike, as clearly defined in the article above, is “over the plate”, and NOT where the catcher catches it, which is 3’ past the strike zone. Also, with all hitters now standing as far back in the box as is allowed by rule, the only part of a hitters lower extremity in the the strike zone is the front knee. That presents a problem for the ezone robot call. In experiments with that electronic zone what they have found is a Major League curve ball can actually pass over the plate (the strike zone) at the lower hollow of the front knee, and BOUNCE before the catcher, who is sitting 6’ behind the front of the strike zone, catches the ball. Calling a strike on a ball that’s in the dirt just looks bad. Can’t have that now can we. What they are talking about doing now is actually changing the definition of a strike so the ezone can be employed. Good luck with that.

      The very best umps in the Majors are wrong about 16% of the time. Not one of them would make the Dean’s List if there was such a thing in their profession.

      On the call on Turner.

      Rule 605 (k) – In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead; except that he may run outside (to the right of) the three-foot line or inside (to the left of) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball;

      It’s a call made by the home plate umpire. That is what he is SUPPOSED to be looking at. He made the call because it was obvious Turner was inside the line and interfered with the throw. There was no need for a review and the fact it took over 5 minutes was embarrassing for baseball. The relief pitcher was asked to stand out there and wait while those yahoos were standing there with their hands in their pockets and headphones on waiting for someone in Gnu Yourk to state the obvious. All defensive momentum was lost in that moment.

      These things just shouldn’t happen at this level and they happen every game. I find it absurd.

    1. Winds are crazy out here in the north valley Keith. So far, so good in our immediate neighborhood. The Simi fire is about 15 miles west of us and we’re keeping an eye on it. Luckily for us, the wind is blowing in the other direction right now, but that doesn’t help the people on the other side of it. Looks like we’ll have another 24 hours of stiff winds so until they subside we won’t be able to relax. If you’re out there Bear, we’re still waiting for some of your snow.

  4. Glad to hear your relatively safe for now jeff, when the wind started blowing a little down here in the South Bay I knew it was getting worse for you guys. To bad that marine layer we had on Sunday didn’t last longer.

  5. I thought Martinez went way to far in his hissy fit, it’s a freaking World Series elimination game how in the heck do you get yourself kicked out, if I was the owner of that team I’m not sure if I bring back I guy that can’t put the welfare of the team above his temper. Those umpires gave him a lot of leeway, trying not to kick him out, and I don’t know why chip hale tried so hard to hold martinez back, when it was obvious he was hell bent on getting tossed.
    All that drama, and he wasn’t even right, the ump made the right call.

    1. I think he did it on purpose. It was for show. If the game had remained 3-2 it wouldn’t have happened.

      Anyone who has played this game knows that rule. I just heard Kornheiser and Wilbon go off on the umps, said they got it wrong. No, they did not. You don’t like the rule change it. But don’t stop the game like that. It’s totally unfair to the players.

    2. Totally agree that Martinez was way over the top and should have never gotten himself kicked out of a game which was that important……………………………….however, he has managed them to game 7 of the World Series. This is a franchise that is notorious for its lack of playoff success. I wouldn’t be betting anything substantial that they fire him, or even remotely consider it.

  6. I know results are what matter Jeff, but if that game had slipped away after he got booted he wouldn’t be looking so good. Right now they are up 4-2 in the bottom of the 8th, so his job is safe.

    1. Even if they wind up losing this one his job is safe. Hard to believe that if the Nats win the visiting team will have won each of the 7 games. Just shows that if the Nats would have had home field advantage in our series, we would be World Champs tonight. 🙂

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