The Toronto Blue Jays have left the door open for free agent pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu, 36. It’s positive that Toronto is willing to re-sign him, but the key is the terms of the deal. Toronto will listen to offers from other teams, and Ryu will have to be treated fairly before he decides to stay.
In a season-ending press conference with local media, including Canada’s Sportsnet, Toronto general manager Ross Atkins was asked about the team’s major free agents, including pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin, third baseman Matt Chapman, first baseman Brandon Belt, and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.
“We’re going to miss Chapman, Belt and Kiermeyer,” Atkins said. We’ll look at opportunities inside and outside to fill those holes.” “Most of our pitching is back next year, except for Hyun-jin Ryu. Alec Manoa will be back, and Hyun-jin Ryu could be an option,” he said, noting that Ryu was the only one of the free agents willing to stay. Atkins signed Hyun-jin Ryu to a four-year, $80 million deal after the 2019 season.
Chapman, who is considered a luxury free agent, has said he is “open to re-signing with Toronto,” but his skyrocketing salary is likely to keep him away. The Jays have other options at third base, including Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal, and are not interested in holding onto Chapman.
“I’m 35 this year,” Belt said. I’m getting older, and I have two sons. Every time I’m away, it’s hard on my family,” he said, adding that he is considering retiring from active duty. “I’m going to take some time off and see if any teams are interested in me,” Kiermeyer said, adding that he’ll wait for offers from other teams. Neither is a priority for Toronto.
It’s notable that Atkins mentioned the possibility of re-signing Hyun-jin Ryu, who has expressed a desire to remain in the United States, saying he wants to “sign with a major league team.” Toronto has plenty of starting pitching options, with Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, Chris Bassett, Yusei Kikuchi, and even Young Gun Manoa, who has struggled this year. There’s no reason why they have to keep Ryu.
So, while it seems unlikely that the Angels will re-sign Ryu, Atkins is keeping his options open to maintain depth. The question for Toronto is what kind of offer they would make to Ryu. Given Atkins’ use of the word “alternative,” it’s likely he’s looking at Ryu as a depth option. Any team’s starting rotation is an emergency and should be stacked as high as possible. 토토사이트
However, it remains to be seen if a team will offer a big contract to a “backup” level starter in free agency. He was a fifth starter in Toronto this year, but with an ERA in the triple digits (3.46), he could easily be labeled a third starter by another team. Of course, his age (mid-30s) and injury risk should be factored in, but the upside for next year should be even greater, as he should be back on track in his second season back from Tommy John surgery.
If Atkins sees Ryu as a “fallback” option to bolster the starting depth, it’s unlikely he’ll reunite with Toronto. Starting pitching has been in high demand in recent major league free agency, and even without a proven veteran starter like Hyun-Jin Ryu, he’s been able to secure contracts worth more than $8 million per year.
Last winter, the oldest pitcher in baseball at 43, Rich Hill, signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Zack Greinke, 39, re-signed with the Kansas City Royals for one year and $8.5 million. Corey Kluber and Johnny Cueto, both 37, also signed one-year deals for $10 million and $8.5 million, respectively. Teams were willing to take a risk on starters with a track record, and the demand for Ryu is expected to be high enough.
“We really look forward to having him back in the starting rotation next year,” Atkins said of Manoa, who was sent to the minors twice this year due to extreme struggles. “He disagreed with the decision after he was sent to the minors a second time, which was frustrating for him, but he didn’t ask the team for a trade. We are working on a solution with Manoa so that we can be successful together again.”