Dave Roberts Potentially Reuniting With Hyun-Jin Ryu While Dodgers Are In South Korea

Although the Los Angeles Dodgers do not have a Korean player on their current roster, the team has a history with the connection, which includes Hyun-Jin Ryu.

After spending 10 seasons in the Majors, Ryu returned to his native South Korea on an eight-year, 17 billion won ($12.8 million) contract with the Hanwha Eagles.

“I’m excited for him to go back home where it all started for him. He was a fantastic Dodger. I was very fortunate to be able to manage him and I wish him all the best,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said.

The Dodgers just arrived in South Korea and are due to play two exhibition games before the Seoul Series next week. Roberts is hopeful to potentially use that time in the country to reunite with Ryu.

“I might try to. I might try to do a little Korean barbecue or something like that,” he said. “I don’t know his schedule, but I definitely consider Hyun-Jin a friend.”

Ryu made his transition from the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) to the Dodgers and United States in 2012 after the Eagles accepted the reported bid of $25.7 million. From there, he signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Dodgers.

Ryu enjoyed a very successful rookie season in 2013, posting a 14-8 record and 3.00 ERA in 30 starts. He became the first South Korean to serve as the starting pitcher of a Major League Baseball postseason game when the Dodgers faced off against the Atlanta Braves in the 2013 National League Division Series.

Ryu’s best season with the Dodgers came in 2019, which was Roberts’ fourth year as manager.

In a 182.2 innings, Ryu had a 2.32 ERA with career-bests in major statistical categories, including 163 strikeouts. He was selected as an All-Star for the first and only time in his career and was the MLB ERA Leader.

That coincided with his contract year and Ryu parlayed the success into a lucrative four-year, $80 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays prior to the 2020 season.

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s MLB stats

Ryu enjoyed a very successful seven seasons with the Dodgers. While he did struggle with injury during parts of it, as a whole he was a solid frontline starter who was being paid like a third option.

Although, most pitchers would be in the same position when their team has a one-two punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. That arguably made Ryu the best third starter in baseball during his first two years with the Dodgers.

After leaving the Dodgers he enjoyed a solid season with the Blue Jays in the shortened season, but that would be his last year as an above-average MLB starter. Overall, Ryu was a 10-year MLB veteran who found a lot of success for the majority of his career.

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