Dodgers Should Pull Trigger on Hyun-Jin Ryu Early

(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe)

As far as free agent pitchers go, there might not be a better bargain on the market than Hyun-Jin Ryu. There’s no question that the lefty’s injury history will be a huge factor in the offers he garners this winter, but based on risk vs. reward, he might be one of the better fits for front-office boss Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers.

There was rarely a week that went by during the regular season last year when at least one of us here at TBPC was pushing for a Ryu contract extension. At the time, there was some belief that he would command upwards of a five-year deal should he hit the market; however, some reports have surfaced recently that he’d be willing to settle for a three or four year pact, especially if it’s offered by a club on the West Coast.

On the surface, the native of Korea doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to ink a new deal, as he remains committed to working on his winter training routine.

“I am going to focus on training for the new season,” Ryu recently said in an interview with the Yonhap News Agency. “Honestly, I am not really thinking about free agency. But if there’s anything I need to do regarding free agency, I’ll probably fly back to the U.S. at some point.”

Arguably, Ryu is the third-best free agent starting pitcher on the market behind Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. Considering that some pundits feel that both Cole and Strasburg may approach deals in the $200 million range, the fact that Ryu could be snagged for three years and less than $70 million sets him apart from the aforementioned duo.

A few weeks back, our own Jeff D. predicted that Ryu would sign with the Dodgers before the beginning of the Winter Meetings on December 8 in San Diego. If the Dodgers are indeed set on adding another starter to their 2020 rotation plans, that move could end up being a wise one.

Regardless, Ryu is represented by agent Scott Boras, who is notorious for negotiating top-dollar for his clients. Seemingly, Boras is already trying to talk-up Ryu in his conversations with the media.

“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.”

Consequently, Jim Bowden of The Athletic stated that Ryu may even consider a deal with the Angels should he fail to land a contract with the Dodgers. By many accounts, the Angels are thought to be aggressively pursuing starting pitching this winter.

With reports surfacing last week that righty Kenta Maeda could be seeking a trade, coupled with the uncertainty surrounding the durability of youngsters Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, the addition of a top-notch starting pitcher may be a smart move for the Dodgers heading into 2020.

If he’s able to stay healthy over the next few seasons, a multi-year contract awarded to Ryu could pay itself off exponentially.

During the 2019 regular season, Ryu 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.

Ryu finished second in the 2019 Cy Young Award voting behind Jacob deGrom of the Mets.


10 thoughts on “Dodgers Should Pull Trigger on Hyun-Jin Ryu Early

  1. After reading your first couple of paragraphs, I thought yup I completely agree with Dennis. Then I read farther and realized I also agree with myself. Assuming that AF actually wants him back, he needs to lean on Ryu/Boras to get it done quickly. We’ll see if I was right about Ryu making the decision here and not Boras because if he really meant what he said and leaves it to his agent, Ryu might not sign until Jan-Feb.


  2. The last part of your post states “If he stays healthy well that is a major statement considering his career this far. Give him 3 years at 20 mil plus well I think that is crazy. Do you really feel with his history that you would put up that kind of money?
    I say give him 15 mil /per for 2 years and a option of another 15 mil for year # 3. I’m sure Boras would not accept it. Since we are in a game that is called hard ball let’s play. Again I say we have starting pitching but our bullpen needs big time work that is where I would spend my money. I’m sure you guys are going to jump down my throat I’m ready


  3. I don’t know why he would sign early. Shin-Soo wants him to come to Texas. The Rangers might stretch this out, and I read the Angels are interested. I think somebody will offer 3 and $51m. Is he worth it? Sure, if he gives 2 years like his last one. Will he? Who knows, but I kinda doubt it. The Dodgers will offer something and I’m sure Friedman is ready for other offers to come in. What does Ryu want? Who knows. He’s off continent


  4. I applaud the Braves for going out and signing Will Smith quickly. Yes, they may have slightly overpaid. Yes, Will Smith could crash and burn for the next 3 years, but they were willing to take a chance to shore up a weak part of their roster. If everyone waits for the bidding war that Boras likes to have with each of his clients, someone always winds up with nothing because it’s then too late to go in a different direction. It’s the baseball version of musical chairs. There’s always a team (or a few teams) left without any place to sit.


    1. I think you’re right about that Jefe, so not waiting would be advisable. We probably have the last bid on Ryu, so he accepts it or not. In the mean time if a 3-5 starter is available we move on him. You can never have too much pitching. That said, Smith already signed, he’s from Georgia so that makes sense to him. I say find someone from SoCal and sign him. Cole fits the bill.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well we all know AF is not going to jump early on anyone. Larry is right, the pen is the biggest hole on the team. Shore that up. The new IL rule for pitchers will squeeze AF’s roster carousel a little. With them going back to 15 days, the rest period thing now denies you a pitcher for 2 weeks. Ferguson is being considered as a full time reliever now.


  6. Interesting story on the Dodgers web site. It is about a former Dodger pitching prospect, James Carter, who retired after just 2 years in the system and is now on his way to becoming a supermodel. His Aunt is Christy Turlington. She has been a supermodel for years, and the kid looks strikingly like her. She used him as a toddler in some Calvin Klein shoots. He has dropped his last name and adopted his middle name, Turlington, to help land jobs. He had Tommy John in college and was drafted by the Dodgers in the 21st round in 2016.


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