“It will play the role of a ‘bridge guy’ that blocks 1-2 innings.”
‘Inside the Blue Jays’ of ‘Sports Illustrated (SI)’ in the US announced on the 4th (Korean time) ‘2023 season The Toronto Blue Jays made a pessimistic prediction through an article titled ‘What can we expect from Hyun-Jin Ryu?’.
After the 2019 season ended, Ryu Hyun-jin, who obtained FA (free agent) qualifications in the major leagues, signed a large four-year, $80 million (approximately 101.9 billion won) contract with Toronto that offseason that year. It was a part that confirmed the expectations placed on Ryu Hyun-jin, who had an excellent record of 54 wins, 33 losses and an ERA of 2.98 during his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The first season of Ryu Hyun-jin’s transfer was successful. Ryu Hyun-jin appeared in 12 games (67 innings) in 2020, a shortened season due to Corona 19, and played an active role with an average ERA of 2.69 with 5 wins and 2 losses, and was ranked 3rd in the National League Cy Young Award voting. Despite moving from the National League to the Eastern Division of the American League, Hyun-Jin Ryu quickly adapted to the new environment.
However, it was a problem from his second season. Ryu Hyun-jin won 14 wins in 31 games (169 innings) in the 2021 season. The 14 wins was Ryu Hyun-jin’s fourth ‘career high tie’ record after advancing to the big leagues. However, Ryu Hyun-jin recorded his first 10 losses in the major leagues and at the same time, detailed indicators plummeted, staying in the first 4-point ERA (4.37), excluding 2016 (11.57), when he only played one game due to injury.
The sluggishness continued. Ryu Hyun-jin took the mound in 6 games (27 innings) in 2022 and marked 2 wins and no losses. However, his earned run average was only 5.67. Ryu Hyun-jin, who felt pain in his forearm during the season, faced the worst situation of undergoing the second Tommy John surgery in his life.
Tommy John surgery usually takes more than a year for him to return, but his rehabilitation is progressing smoothly. Ryu Hyun-jin departed for the United States via Incheon International Airport on December 29 last year to rehabilitate and prepare for the 2023 season. He is currently targeting July, right after the Major League All-Star break.
‘Inside the Blue Jays’ said, “Hyeon-jin Ryu’s contract in the winter of 2019 meant that Toronto officially became a competitive team. His inaugural press conference was full of laughter. Hyun-jin Ryu, who signed a four-year, $80 million contract, He received praise from sports reporters, but Ryu Hyun-jin’s time in Toronto didn’t go the way he wanted with the team.” 안전놀이터
The media continued, “2020 was a magical year for Ryu Hyun-jin. However, something went wrong as he recorded an average ERA of 4.55 (ERA+ 97) in 196 innings in 2021-2022. Ryu Hyun-jin was on the disabled list (IL) due to a forearm problem at the Rogers Center. He went up, and two weeks later, he underwent Tommy John surgery. “Assuming Ryu Hyun-jin is ready to pitch again in July 2023, what will he be able to do?”
‘Inside the Blue Jays’ predicted that Toronto would not use Ryu Hyun-jin as a bullpen pitcher, but he would not be of great help to the team as a starter. In the end, Ryu Hyun-jin, whose position has narrowed, made an extreme observation that he would take on the ‘opener’.
The media said, “Even if Mitch White and Yusei Kikuchi are struggling in the starting rotation, we will not suddenly join Ryu Hyun-jin in the starting lineup.” “Assuming Ryu Hyun-jin doesn’t run into difficulties or pack up and go home,” he added.
Everything has to be opened. If Ryu Hyun-jin returns after increasing enough innings in the minor leagues, he cannot rule out the possibility that he will enter the starting rotation straight away and help in the second half ranking battle. In the end, it will be confirmed in July whether ‘Inside the Blue Jays’, which sent a pessimistic view of Ryu Hyun-jin, will proceed according to the flow.