Ryu Hyun-jin Available for Multi-Year Free Agent Contract

Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto) was a player who had question marks over everything until just three months ago. Ryu Hyun-jin

who underwent elbow ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John surgery) in June of last year

had times when it was unclear whether he would even return to normal this year.

There is a reason why the local media said at the time of the surgery last year, “Ryu Hyun-jin may have already pitched his last game in Toronto.

 The rehabilitation period for Tommy John surgery is about 1 year to 1 year and 6 months. 

This is Ryu Hyun-jin’s second career Tommy John. Besides, he was a veteran in his mid-30s. 

Of course, it was reasonable to expect that the rehabilitation period would be longer than that of players undergoing their first surgery or younger players. 지울프-토토

As Ryu Hyun-jin’s contract with Toronto ends this year, he could not wear a Toronto uniform again and enter the free agent market. 

However, Ryu Hyun-jin pulled out the rehabilitation clock through hard work. 

And he’s closer to reaching his goal of returning.

 Nevertheless, skepticism toward Ryu Hyun-jin has not diminished. 

He had many negative outlooks, saying, “It will be difficult to regain the skills of the past.

As a veteran in his mid-30s returned from major surgery, it was difficult to weigh in on this prospect. Local media began arguing that Toronto should acquire a starting pitcher ahead of the trade deadline. 

They did not have confidence in Ryu Hyun-jin. 

However, Ryu Hyun-jin has allayed all concerns and is cruising along. 

It’s beyond expectations. He also has the potential to become Toronto’s savior.

As of the 8th (Korean time), Ryu Hyun-jin has started 7 games this season, pitched 34 innings, and is recording 3 wins, 2 losses, and an average ERA of 2.65. 

Although he does not have many samples, it is clear from his records and experience that he pitches steadily. 

His hitting percentage is 0.219 and the number of hits allowed per inning (WHIP) is only 1.06. His exit speed is also well managed.

Redemption is not quick. 

Even in 2021, right before the surgery, he was unable to recover. 

However, it has blade-like control.

 He throws five different pitches to hitters. He is wreaking havoc on batters by providing commands as well as differences in pitch type and velocity. 

Although he allows a lot of runs by hitting home runs, it is rare to find him hitting consecutive hits. This is veteran Ryu Hyun-jin’s class.

The public opinion just three months ago was, “If you enter the free agent market without a proper comeback track record, you could end up in a cold situation.” 

There was even negative public opinion that if he skipped all of 2023 due to injury, he would not be able to receive a major league guaranteed contract and might have to start with a minor league contract. 

It is true that there were expectations that he would return to his former team, Hanwha.

But things have changed drastically now. On the 8th, the official Major League Baseball website (MLB.com) included Ryu Hyun-jin’s name in a column introducing ‘9 prospective free agents who should finish well in 2023.’ 

The outlook is positive. There were predictions that he would be able to sign a multi-year contract, rather than a one-year contract.

MLB.com said, ‘Generally, it takes a long time for a pitcher who has undergone Tommy John surgery to get back on track, but Ryu Hyun-jin is different,’ and ‘After returning (from surgery)

he pitched 34 innings in 7 starts, with an ERA of 2.65 and an ERA of 2.65. With a good WHIP of 1.06, he closed the gap in Toronto’s rotation (without Alec Manoa).

He then assumed that ’36-year-old Ryu Hyun-jin will not be able to sign a free agency contract worth 4 years and $80 million (the contract he had with Toronto)

but was positive, saying, ‘If he continues his current form, he will be able to sign a multi-year free agent contract that seemed distant.’ A report was submitted.

Ryu Hyun-jin has already built a proven career in the major leagues. 

Among active major league pitchers who have pitched more than 1,000 innings, his earned run average ranks 6th or 7th. 

It is natural that his physical abilities decline as he gets older, but Ryu Hyun-jin was not a pitcher who relied on velocity even when he was good.

 It is possible that his performance decline curve is relatively flat.

 His injury history may have been a problem, but this has also been resolved with his elbow surgery.

It is rare for a championship-winning team to have all five starters, and injuries occur. 

A team aiming to win the championship can nominate Ryu Hyun-jin as a candidate for the 3rd to 5th starting positions. 

He is not a player who will sign a long-term contract of more than 4 years anyway. So, payroll management is easy. 

Even a rebuilding team, which is on the extreme opposite end, will need a veteran pitcher to fill the void until the young players develop. 

This is often resolved with a contract of 2 to 3 years.

This is why it is believed that there will be sufficient demand for Ryu Hyun-jin, who is still showing off his pitching quality, even if he was unable to show off his health. Moreover, the recent free agent market is short of starters.

 Players with much less experience than Ryu Hyun-jin and players with a history of frequent injuries are scratched like a lottery ticket.

 There are quite a few players who have received more than $10 million per year.

A representative example is Andrew Heaney, who has a history of injuries and is somewhat similar to Ryu Hyun-jin in that he is a left-hander.

 Although Heaney is younger than Ryu Hyun-jin, he has suffered many major injuries and his overall career is not special, but he signed a 1+1 year contract with Texas for a total of $25 million ahead of this season. Heaney was a pitcher who appeared in 16 games (14 as a starter) for the Dodgers last year and only played 72⅔ innings.

 In fact, his health was worse than Ryu Hyun-jin’s in the previous season.

Veteran Rich Hill, who is seven years older than Ryu Hyun-jin, also signed a one-year, $8 million contract with Pittsburgh ahead of this season. 

Although Hill is a returning veteran, his career has been downhill. 

He cannot be considered more valuable than Ryu Hyun-jin. Nevertheless, he received a considerable amount of $8 million.

 Moreover, this year, the number of starting pitchers in the market has decreased further due to the departure of Shohei Ohtani and Julio Urias. 

It can be expected that Ryu Hyun-jin’s market will not be tight either.

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