What’s the Delay in Signing Hyun-Jin Ryu?

(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

While many teams around baseball have been very aggressive with their respective player acquisitions so far this offseason, Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers have been much more cautious, seemingly waiting to make the right move at the exact right time.

For the first time in several years, it became evident that Los Angeles was prepared to make a big splash in the winter market, as made evident by its reported eight-year, $300 million offer to starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. The offer was rumored to be the highest free-agent deal proposed to a player in the history of the franchise.

Nevertheless, one move—or non-move—that’s been puzzling is the fact that Hyun-Jin Ryu is still on the free agent board waiting for a deal. There have been all kinds of reports out there—giving fans a wide-range of resources from which to believe. News out of the Dodgers camp says that the team has engaged with the lefty’s client, Scott Boras, while Ryu himself has recently told the media there hasn’t been any negotiations between the two sides at all.

“If the Dodgers wanted to re-sign me, they would have told my agent,” Ryu said in an interview on Wednesday. “I haven’t heard from him yet, and honestly, I don’t have much to tell you right now.”

Another surprising tidbit that came from Ryu’s conversation was when the 2019 Cy Young runner-up stated that pitching on the West Coast was not paramount to his new deal. Heading into the offseason, many pundits felt that a club in the West was definitely in the cards for the 32-year-old native of Korea.

“I’ve never once said anything like that,” Ryu explained. “No matter where I end up, I’ll just try to pitch the best I can.”

Boras echoed the same sentiments when asked about Ryu’s preferred landing spots.

“Geography is something that players look at and evaluate, but I don’t think it’s an overriding consideration,” Boras told reporters at this week’s Winter Meetings. “The distance from Seoul to any major league franchise, I am not sure it’s relevant.”

Early projections had Ryu pegged at receiving a contract in the three-year, $60 million range, but based on the way the market has developed so far this winter, it wouldn’t be surprising if the lefty was seeking to add a fourth year onto his initial target.

In the meantime, whether negotiations are progessing with Ryu or not, the Dodgers have been talking with representatives of former division-rival lefty Madison Bumgarner.

At the beginning of the offseason, some pundits felt that Bumgarner was the fifth-best available starting pitcher on the free-agent market next to Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler and Ryu.

Initially, Tim Dierkes at MLBTR had Bumgarner pegged at receiving a four-year deal in the range of $72 million, but like Ryu’s increasing stock, newer reports suggest that Bumgarner will be seeking a deal in the $100 million range.

It is unknown whether Los Angeles is using Bumgarner as a fallback option to Ryu or if Friedman and his troops prefer the former San Francisco ace over everyone else.

Conceivably, there may be a huge concern about Ryu’s injury history relative to his age. Aside from two freak injuries—a broken finger from a comebacker last spring and a shoulder separation resulting from a dirtbike accident two years ago—their hasn’t been a healthier starting pitcher in baseball than Bumgarner.

Over the course of the last few weeks, Ryu has drawn keen interest from the Blue Jays, the Twins and the Cardinals.


85 thoughts on “What’s the Delay in Signing Hyun-Jin Ryu?

  1. Maybe it’s a simple answer. More teams are involved

    Cole was only going to one of 3 places. When the Yankees came in at $324? Game over.

    I’m a bit surprised at how many fans think the off season ended when the 3 heavyweights signed. This is a 9 inning game and we’re only in the second quarter.

    Yeah, I know. I hope the point is made.

  2. I’m guessing that Andrew’s first choice is MadBum and Ryu is the fallback position. Question is, will Boras cooperate and have them sign in that order. I’m guessing he will because MadBum will probably get the higher $ contract and that should help drive up the price for Ryu.
    With regard to his statement about geography not playing into his decision where to sign, the more potential landing spots Ryu has, the better his bargaining position. Even if he has no intention of signing in Minnesota, why announce to the world that he won’t do that. The more bidders the better.

  3. Dennis, you must be a politician, because ” Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers have been much more cautious, seemingly waiting to make the right move at the exact right time.” is some very creative and funny shit. I really don’t know how to take whatever you wrote next very seriously. Good stuff and you gave me a good laugh.

    However, the silence from AF to Ryu’s team is very odd, if they wanted to have any positive vibes with Ryu, it appears AF has gone out of his way to offend Ryu. I have always contended, no WS rings as long as AF is ruining, I mean running the show.

    1. I read something different than that DMatter.

      From December 12th:

      “Earlier this week, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register and other reporters that he has discussed a new deal for Hyun-Jin Ryu with agent Scott Boras. For now, though, Ryu’s under the impression his longtime club isn’t particularly interested in bringing him back. “If the Dodgers wanted to re-sign me, they would have told my agent,” the left-hander said (via Yonhap News Agency). “I haven’t heard from him yet, and honestly, I don’t have much to tell you right now“.

      Earlier this week. Now, that tells me the Dodgers DID have a conversation with Boras. It was actually before “earlier this week”, because earlier this week Friedman told Plunkett he “has discussed a new deal for Ryu”. Could have been the week before, we don’t know. Also, “I haven’t heard from him yet” means Ryu hasn’t yet talked to his agent yet. You don’t even have to read between the lines on this, you just need to be able to read and comprehend English. Also, maybe you haven’t noticed, Bora$ has been a bit busy lately.

      If eventually it turns out we do not get another starter I’ll join in on the roast. Until then, I’m just gonna wait and watch.

      1. Turns out Boras and Ryu couldn’t speak to each other because the Korean translator wasn’t available.

      2. Well, there you go. Maybe Ryu is milking it too. Makes more teams think they have a shot.

  4. Gotta remember that even if AF wants Ryu back it doesn’t mean he’ll have the highest offer and although Ryu might give a very small hometown discount, I don’t think it will amount to much.

  5. I must be one who drank the Koolaid because I believe and support this front office.

    First, the Dodgers run their business…like a business. They are tight lipped and choose not to spread rumors and gossip through the media about player signings or interest. Many teams, it seems to me, do that. Whether they think it is to keep the fan base happy or help in negotiating, I don’t know. We should be use to it by now and just wait ti see what roster reports to Camelback in about 60 days.

    I’m glad the Yankees paid so much for Cole. Like I was when the D-Backs overpaid for Greinke. Will it help them next season, yep. Will they be sorry in about 5 years that they have that contract around their neck? Probably. Add that to Stanton’s contract and whatever other huge commitments they have made/will make and the Yankees are in for a few years of success before crashing without flexibility to get out from under them. Once again, great news. If the Dodgers can continue to lurk around all free agents and make teams think they are in on making an offer, those teams will likely over pay for players they want – a win for the Dodgers putting your competitors at a disadvantage (i.e., Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs).

    If the current crop of kids (May & Gonsolin) and also Urias are on the 2020 Dodgers and start the year as starters knowing that is their role, I’m sure at least one will have a breakout year. We’ll be praising AF for being smart and not paying $350 million for Cole. At least I will….

    Hard to remember, but “patience is a virtue.”

    1. Good take Drake.

      If it had to be someone other than us, might as well have been the Yankees. Maybe we will have a chance to stick it to them, and him, next October.

      1. Farcically Ironical ————- Scoop

        Though….. early odds have LA favored in the NL and….. wait for it….. Houston and NY co-favorites in the AL.

        It COULD happen.

    1. It seems to me that there is some genuine animosity one Ryu’s behalf in this little scenario. He probably thinks the Dodgers should have expressed more interest at the exact time that they could negotiate with free agents. I also think he prefers staying in the NL because he loves to hit. Padres now expressing interest in both he and the Mad Bum.

  6. Well the Lindor thing did not happen, and i did not really think it would. What I do believe is that if the Indians do trade him, they won’t make the deal unless both May and Lux are in the trade. It could expand to include Clevinger and some other players. And the the Schlemmings, correct spelling of that by the way, would have their difference maker and I would be chowing down on crow pie. Dodgers might see two old friends during spring training. Brock Stewart and Jharel Cotton are both on the Cubs roster. Stewart came in the rule 5 draft and Cotton via a trade.

    1. Shlemming is a contraction of Sheep and Lemming, therefore no “c”. I made up the word. I get to choose how to spell it. 🙂

      1. Hah! Actually I am. Sorry I forgot to invite you to my Bar Mitzvah. Although schlemming sounds like the perfect Yiddish word, that isn’t what I was going for when I coined the term. As I said, sh for sheep, followed by lemming. But if it makes you happy, my friend, add the c. No problem.

      2. My best friend is a Jewish guy who was born in Brooklyn and now lives in Lancaster. He loved the Dodgers right up to the day they moved to LA. Now he totally hares baseball. He is a huge NY Giants and NY Rangers fan. And for me, the easiest mark in the world. He literally walks into my sarcastic side and I nail him. But he is a great friend. Suffering from Kidney problems and serious diabetes. Almost lost him a couple of times last year. Hodges used to live about a block from him when he lived in Brooklyn.

  7. Didn’t happen yet Bear.

    You know, it sure feels like the Padres are going to be good soon. I thought they’d win more than 70 last year. I think they can win over 80 next year.

    1. No, it hasn’t happen yet, and maybe it will. But if they trade Lux, and May, get Lindor, what happens to Seager. He move to 3rd and Turner to 1st? That would make Muncy the full time 2nd baseman, If Clevinger is in the deal, they still need one more starter and some bullpen arms. Isn’t Lindor a switch hitter/ It does change the leadoff hitter dynamic. Lindor hit more HR’s as a lefty than he did as a RH hitter. 24 to 8 And he only hit .258 against lefty’s so he does not really address the need for another RH power bat. Report came out yesterday that Verdugo is not doing any baseball related work yet. And it is his back that has been the main problem. Supposedly he is doing well in his re-hab and expects to be ready for spring training.

      1. Lindor and Seager are both free agents after’21. We can pick which one we want to keep then. I don’t do a deal with Cleveland unless Clevinger is in it. I still believe it’s pitching we should be looking for.

      2. I totally concur. That is one reason I believe they are still in on Bumgarner. Adding 2 starters and another BP arm makes sense. I would have liked to see them get another lock down lefty reliever. I am not totally sold on a combo of Kolarek and Alexander. Of course they seem to be grooming Ferguson to be a bullpen guy too since he is not even mentioned as a starter lately. But they still are a lefty heavy team.

      3. 100% agree that our main focus should be to add more pitching. I think we need to add two more starters and trade Maeda. He has trade value and is unhappy with his role here. I don’t like having unhappy players on my roster. I think Kolarek will probably be given a shot at the bullpen during ST, but if he shows he still can’t get righties out, he’s gone. Too bad, he has a real specialty and the rules committee just yanked it out from under him.

      4. There are still a few pitchers in the picture. We have to get one of them.

        Ryu or Bumgarner? Choose.

        Did you see the pictures of Verdugo yesterday? He looks like Meatloaf. .

  8. Bill Buckner would have been 70 today. We lost him back in May. I always liked his play. An ankle injury, ala Tommy Davis, took away a lot of his range.But prior to that he was one of the faster guys on the team. Happy Birthday and RIP Billy Bucks.

    1. One of my all time favorite Dodgers. He would run through a wall to make a play. Great teammate. Happy B’day Billy.

    2. I was playing an MABL game on the field at the Yountville Veterans home several years ago. It’s a beautiful old park with quite a history. One of the guys on my team had seen Buckner play there, in an American Legion game I believe. He pointed to an outbuilding several feet beyond the right field wall and described watching a ball Buckner hit fly over it. The way he recounted it sure made me wish I had seen it. Anyone who had the privilege of seeing him play in person when he was younger were very lucky.

      1. I was at the game when he injured his ankle. The had to carry him off of the field. I also remember his hard nosed play in the 1974 World Series. One has to wonder if he had been able to leg out that try for a triple, what might have happened. Dodgers were down one at the time. I saw a pic of Verdugo on twitter, and Scoop is right. The resemblance to Meatloaf was striking. I was so sad when they traded Buck to the Cubs, and it makes me a little sadder that most do not remember what a great hitter he was, just that error in the series that allowed the Mets to win.

      2. I lived in Napa for 4 years. He’s a legend there. Was All American in football, wide receiver, and hit .667 in baseball. Was committed to Stanford before deciding to sign. I saw him crash head first into the wall down the left foul line. He didn’t catch it but damn, it was impressive. He didn’t see walls, he only saw the ball. He got up and was ok, but I think everybody knew it was just a matter of time with that guy. People I met in Napa who knew him described him as “intense”. His manager in Chicago said he was nuts. I believe he was probably both.

  9. I sign the Mad Bum. I like what he brings to the team in terms of intensity. And he is a pretty good hitter too.

  10. Longest ball I ever saw hit was at Dodger Stadium, and I saw the same guy do it twice. I was there both times Willie Stargell cleared the RF pavilion and hit the ball out of Dodger Stadium. One of the few times you have heard the entire stadium give a standing O to a opponent.

    1. I saw Piazza hit one out in batting practice. I was in the left field pavilion at the time. It went right over my head. Looked like a 7 iron shot.

      1. He hit one out in a game too. He and Stargell are the only 2of 4 who ever have. I used to love to watch the Phillies take batting practice in LA when they had Luzinski and Schmidt. They would pound balls into the high part of the pavilion above the walkway. Out of all the games i have gone to over the years, I only caught one ball. It was during batting practice and Joe Ferguson hit one that landed on the warning track and bounced over the wall right into my firstbasemans mitt. I remember who Stargell hit the first one off of. It was Alan Foster. His next one was off of Andy Messersmith. That was in 73. He hit the one off Foster in 1969. Stanton, and McGwire are the other 2 who accomplished the feat. Stargell’s first one was the longest at 506’6″. None of the others went over 500 feet. McGwire’s blast off Jamie Arnold in 1999 went 483 feet.

      1. I would like that too, and as a present for signing with LA I think Max Muncy should present him with a Go get it out of the Ocean T shirt!

      2. I’m in on MadBum too. Seems like the majority here would be OK with it. I wonder if they polled 1000 Dodger fans on the street, how many would say yes. I’m guessing it would be about 50% (leaving the money part out of it). Would I rather have Clevenger than MadBum, yes, but not at the cost of Lux and May. I might be willing to send them May, but not Lux.

  11. As a Red Sox fan, Buckner is a mixed bag. The error against the Mets wasn’t really his fault. Well it was, but John M deserves a good share of the blame. Possibly for the reasons cited above John made that mistake, one that, IMO, rivals Dave Roberts’ 2019 bullpen manipulation.

    I’ll never forget his quote, “I felt Buckner deserved to be on the field when we won.” But we didn’t win.

  12. For me it’s Lindor and Clevinger that puts us over the top for a WS title shot. Clevenger was lights out when he came,back last year. He has true ace stuff and pairs with Bueller as a1-2 that can match up with anyone. He’s young cheap and controllable. I’m all in for the both of them and would include both Lutz and May to headline the deal. Madbum is not an ace anymore and don’t think he or Kersh matches up well in a game 2 against Strasbourg or a Severino. I also love Madbum’s intensity and think it would play well,for our clubhouse but not for 100mil plus. There’s other areas that money could be spent like the bullpen. If AF trades Lutz he must think Downs has a future at 2nd base. But I’m not trading Lutz for just Lindor, has to include Clevinger. Shlemmings rise up and demand AF makes it happen!

    1. One question Rich. In all that excitement did you forget how to spell LUX? I have no clue who Lutz is. And Strasbourg is a city in Germany. Not the pitcher DC just resigned…..sorry…..

      1. I could be wrong here but I think Strasbourg is a city in France. Strasburg is a city in Germany and also in Austria.

  13. I think I agree with my fellow shlemming about moving Maeda, I don’t think it’s good to have unhappy players on the team.

    After reading scoops link, am I the only one that’s worried about verdugo? back injuries can derail a guy forever, maybe we should back off of the Joc trade talk.

    Buckner was my first favorite player when I was a kid, My dad never watched any sports so I didn’t get many opportunities to watch the dodgers play, but Buckner is the first player I can remember having an affinity to.

    I do have a vague recollection of mays in SF, but the first WS I remember watching every game was 1974 against the A’s. Mom and dad we’re divorced by then, and I could watch all the baseball I wanted at moms house.

    1. Sorry you missed the Say Hey kid. I was lucky that I got to see him play many times. And since in those early years, the only games on TV were the Giant games played in SF, I saw him more than most of the other stars in the league. I remember he hit the homer that won the game against Koufax when Marichal went postal on Johnny Roseboro. Willie was constantly running out from under his hat when he ran the bases. This was prior to batting helmets. He was probably, at least to me, the best all around player I have ever seen. He had that high pitched voice and when Vinny would interview him and he was excited, it was sometimes hard to understand what he was saying. I know Aaron was playing then also, but he was not as flashy as Willie, and did everything in a workman like manner.

    2. I’m very concerned about Verdugo’s back and agree that it leads to a whole different dynamic when thinking about which outfielders to trade. Verdugo’s comments were a little too tentative to suit me. I sure hope they solve his problem.

      1. The Dodgers were convinced he was dogging it and none too happy he did not come back after going down on August 4th. But his statements seem to confirm that the problem was worse than we were led to believe. If he is not ready, you do not trade Joc.

  14. Rich, in all that excitement did you forget how to spell LUX? I have no clue who Lutz is. And Strasbourg is a city in Germany not the pitcher DC just resigned. Sorry pal I just could not let those go.

    1. Lutz works. And we seem to a bit confused on the name Clevinger. I can see how it happens… i before e except after c. No matter, I think most of us would at least consider Lutz if we get both Clevinger and Lindor. It would be painful for me but I think I’d do it.

  15. I knew it, Scoop is Badger. I got a whiff of Badger a couple of weeks ago and now recent posts nails it down.

    1. He changed his handle when he moved out of Arizona….do ya blame him? Who wants to look like a badger….????????

  16. Okay. This is for you older guys……Maddux or Gibson? Who would you prefer on your team? I would take Gibby. Intense competitor. Blazing fastball, and the most intimidating pitcher this side of Randy Johnson. Would knock down him mother to win a game.

      1. I would agree with that. If I had to win a game 7, it would be Gibby. Still holds the record for most K’s in a World Series game with 17. Beat Koufax’s 15.

  17. If Lux is being sought after by everybody AF talks to, he’s only doing his job by dangling Lux out there to see if some other team is willing to give back a lot more than what Lux is worth.

    Make the trade, sign madbum, or Ryu, and trade maeda for a prospect or two, to start trying to replace all the players we move in the trade. I’m sure with maeda’s contract being incentive based is very valuable to a lot of teams, not to mention he is a solid pitcher. Then let any of the kids that are still with the team compete for the fifth spot in the rotation.

  18. Strasbourg is in France Jefe, but right on the German border and has been fought over for centuries, It went back to France after WWII. There is no longer a German city with that name. But you were right, they is also one in Austria. I went to Austria when I was stationed in Germany. We went to Salzburg. Gorgeous little city right on the river in the Austrian Alps. Tension is growing between the majors and the minor leagues. The minor league owners not happy with the plan to dump 42 minor league teams and limit each team to 6 farm teams. They are no where close to a settlement, and the commish has taken the hard line.

    1. I’m not clear on how dependent those minor league owners are on Major League money. Is it not possible to make money as independent leagues? Maybe they need a new marketing director.

      My grandfather used to play in what was formerly called the Texas League back in the late 20s and early 30s. He worked the oil fields and played for various company teams. I believe most teams were considered C or D ball, but a lot of it was playing anyone they could, including Negro League teams. There were some outstanding players all over the south and those guys played whenever they could, sometimes on days they worked on the rigs. He had some great stories about those years. I don’t know if corporate sponsorships would work today but, maybe.

      1. All of the teams have private owners anymore. MLB supply’s the players. They get recognition from their affiliation with a MLB team. Back in the day, the teams owned their farm teams but it has not been that way in a while. I think a lot of the anger comes from the loss of jobs with MLB teams. Managers and coaches are paid, as are the players by the parent team. And trimming 40 teams, well, that is a lot. There is just a lot of animosity between the two right now, and the commissioner basically threw down the gauntlet and said negotiate, or we will dump all of you.

      2. They have to be developed somewhere, but do they need that many teams? Probably not. And that’s where independent leagues come in. I went to a couple St Paul Saints games and really enjoyed the experience. They average about 8,000 a game I believe. Good baseball.

        Maybe the Major Leagues should only hold 7 rounds of draft like football does. They can place their draftees into these leagues and pay a bit for that development privilege. Any other players playing in the league are free agents and their contracts can be purchased. I don’t know if that’s a good idea. Haven’t thought it through. I’ll let the thinkers here do that.

  19. Industrial leagues is the word you might be looking for Scoop. Back in those days almost every town had a team that was sponsored by a local business. Morel Meats Cleavers or something along those lines. Some pretty good players on those teams too. That is how Dizzy Dean and his brother were discovered. The Dodgers shifted to OKC from Albuquerque because they wanted a better read on a players actual power. The higher altitude of Albuquerque rather skewed the numbers. Now both the AA and AAA teams play in the same state.

    1. I believe you’re right. My grandfather referred to it as the Texas League. He was working rigs in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. My mother was born in Texas.

  20. I do remember watching Gibson towards the end of his career, I was to young to really appreciate how good he was, but I remember him.

    1. I was 14. My grandfather got the tickets. Box seats, a few rows back between home and third. What I recall most is the sound of Koufax’s fastball hitting Roseboro’s glove and the number of swings and misses. There were a few hits, all singles, none I recall hit that hard. Dodgers had only 2 Wally Moon singles – then the Davis home run. What a memory.

  21. Amazing that game left such an impression on you at fourteen, and to be there with your grandfather, nothing better.

    1. My grandfather was head bartender at a prominent Beverly Hills hotel. You could say he was connected. He was given a lot of tickets to LA games. The seats were always right up front. Yeah, in that respect, I was a very lucky kid.

    1. We know that aside from the Dodgers, the Blue Jays, Twins and Angels are also in on Ryu, plus possibly others that we haven’t heard about. With that in mind it’s almost impossible that he would take a 2 year contract here, unless it was for something like 2/70 (and that ain’t happening). I think Boras will have Madbum sign first which should push Ryu’s price up. The question is whether someone will give him 4 years and I would think that someone will.

      1. Who would you give 4 years Jefe? And do you think Friedman will? Of the two, who do you give $100 million to? My immediate answer is neither. I prefer Clevinger. But….

        I might take one of these guys and…. gulp. That said, I think I would give Bumgarner 4 before I gave Ryu 4. I just think it’s likely Bumgarner would, over 4 years, give more innings. More quality innings? Man I just don’t know. I would very cautious about Ryu being able to start another 100 games over 4 years. Not an easy call.

      2. I would rather have Clevinger also but I refuse to include Lux in any deal. I would actually consider including May if it would be part of a Lindor/Clevinger deal, but not Lux.
        Assuming no Clevinger, I would definitely give MadBum 4 years and probably would do it for Ryu also. He really hasn’t had any arm problems. A major shoulder situation which I don’t expect to have happen again and some hamstring problems which is almost more of a concern to me. That said, I take a chance. We need one of those 2 guys or someone even better. Pay the men!

      3. Can’t argue with that take. I feel the same about Lux. An infield of Seager, Lindor, Lux and Muncy. An outfield of Pederson/Pollock, Bellinger, Verdugo. A rotation of Buehler, Kershaw, Clevinger, Urias, Maeda, and Gonsolin (May is in Cleveland) A utility of Turner and whoever. That’s a team that blows through the West and sets up pretty darn not too bad in the playoffs. Do I see that happening? Yes. Yes I do. I also see myself with a beautiful home on 5 acres that slopes away from town. It’s good to visualize. If you can see it, you can be it! Do I except it? Yeah, sure. Some of it. If you have expectations, you set yourself up for disappointment. Yeah, I’m a bit conflicted regarding my affirmations. I’m working on that.

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