On May 5 (KST), CBS Sports released a ranking of players who will soon enter the free agency market. Ryu Hyun-jin, the “Korean Monster,” was ranked 38th out of 50 players.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, Ryu returned to the major league mound in August after more than a year away. He lost more than 100 pounds while rehabbing his elbow, and began making rehab appearances in the minor leagues in July. Starting in the Rookie League and progressing through Single-A and Triple-A, Ryu raised expectations by going 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four games.
The good form in the minors carried over to the big leagues. In his first start back, Ryu gave up four runs (four earned) in five innings against the American League East champion Baltimore Orioles. But in his second start, he threw a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians, and then swept the next three games, cruising to a 3-1 record and 2.25 ERA in August.굿모닝토토 도메인
He continued to pitch well in September, albeit without a win. He tossed five innings of two-run ball against the Oakland Athletics at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, in what was arguably the worst start of his career. Then, against the World Series (WS) champion Texas, he pitched his first six innings of a quality start (six innings, three earned runs or less).
Expectations were high after his best pitching performance in Texas, but his next three outings were disappointing. Despite throwing a no-hitter, Ryu struggled mightily against the Boston Red Sox, leaving the mound after just 4⅔ innings, and then struggled against the Tampa Bay Rays in two starts, allowing five runs (five earned) in 4⅓ innings and two runs (two earned) in three innings, respectively, before finishing the season without a win in September.
With his four-year, $80 million contract with Toronto coming to an end at the end of the season, a lot of attention has been focused on Ryu’s future, and there have been speculations about a return to the KBO. In the past, Ryu had expressed his desire to return to the Hanwha Eagles to finish his career. However, Ryu hopes to continue his career in the major leagues and is likely to stay in the big leagues unless he is unable to sign with a major league team.
Local media outlets in the United States have been rushing to make their free agent rankings, including CBS Sports. CBS Sports ranked Ryu 39th on their list of 50 free agents. The media listed the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals among the teams that would be interested in Ryu. It’s a far cry from what the local American media has been saying
According to CBS Sports, “Ryu returned from his second Tommy John surgery in August and pitched in 11 games. “Ryu’s results were solid, and if they weren’t, he might not have appealed to as many people,” said CBS Sports, noting that “Ryu averaged 88.6 mph on his fastball, which, if it met the statistical requirements, would have made him the softest pitcher in baseball.
Currently, local media in the United States are speculating that Ryu will sign a short, one-year contract. Jim Bowden, former general manager of the Washington Nationals, predicted a one-year, $8 million contract through The Athletic, Jim Britton of The Athletic predicted $11 million, and unnamed expert A of The New York Post predicted $13 million, B $12 million, and C $10 million ($13.1 million + options).
CBS Sports also sees a slim chance of Ryu signing a big contract. “Ryu could see himself in the starting rotation for a team that believes he can mix his changeup, cutter, and curveball very effectively and keep hitters off-balance with his location,” the outlet said, but “there are a lot of risks in terms of mechanics and durability, which will keep his asking price down.”