The good news is that Hyun-Jin Ryu is believed to want to remain on the West Coast, and he may even be willing to offer a bit of a returning discount to do so. The bad news is, even with the slight discount, the lefty’s contract value is seemingly increasing by the day.
After the biggest starting pitching targets were removed from the board at the Winter Meetings, the remaining free agent choices continue to drop like flies. While Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler made their respective decisions early, players like Madison Bumgarner, Tanner Roark, Wade Miley and even Brett Anderson have subsequently followed suit.
As Ryu is certainly the most talented starter left for the taking, his demand will eventually yield a lucrative payday.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the latest rumblings suggest that Ryu’s new contract will exceed that of Bumgarner’s AAV of $17 million per year.
We’ve speculated quite a bit recently about the Dodgers’ prospective interest in bringing back Ryu. However, the more time that passes by, the more the list of potential suitors for the left-hander seems to be increasing. As it stands, the Twins, Braves, Blue Jays, Rangers, and Cardinals all have varying interest in the 2018 NL Cy Young runner-up.
Furthermore, we’ve also talked significantly about how the Los Angeles rotation might look if there weren’t any additions made to the current active roster. Right now, the front five would consist of Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias and one of either Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin or Ross Stripling.
Indeed, there’s plenty of potential among those names, but it’s tough to speculate just how well the unit would perform as a whole. Kershaw is aging, Urias may need time to settle back into a starting role, and Maeda typically begins to drift away during the second half of the season. And, it’s difficult to project just how many quality innings May or Gonsolin could contribute.
Last year, 10 different pitchers started games for the Dodgers, and that doesn’t include Casey Sadler‘s role as an “opener” on September 18 against the Rays. In 2018, the Dodgers used 11 different starting pitchers. In 2017, they used 10.
After the seven aforementioned possibilities, there’s not too much left on the Los Angeles fringe unless one of Mitchell White or Dennis Santana emerges from the shadows. Of course, there’s always the chance of an ascension by somebody like Josiah Gray—or the re-conversion of Caleb Ferguson or Josh Sborz into starting roles—but based on the current number of resources, front-office boss Andrew Friedman and his crew would probably be much more comfortable with a few more major league ready arms that have the capabilities of starting.
One thing we do know for sure, though, as much as May’s name has been whispered in a plethora of trade rumors, the young righty should be considered pretty much untouchable if the Dodgers don’t get a quality starting arm in a return deal.