Rather than test free agency a year ago, Hyun-Jin Ryu returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2019 season after accepting the qualifying offer extended to him. He was essentially betting on himself to stay healthy and build off a strong close to his 2018 campaign.
With the exception of two brief stints on the 10-day injured list, Ryu was generally durable, logging his most innings pitched in a single season since 2013. He also performed at a high level for most of the year, finishing with the lowest ERA among qualified pitchers at 2.32.
Ryu was recognized with many accolades, including his first career All-Star selection and a second-place finish in National League Cy Young Award voting. He recently turned that success into a four-year, $80 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays — the fifth-most lucrative deal in terms of total salary doled out to a starting pitcher this winter.
Ryu was officially introduced by his new organization on Friday, and upon finalizing his contract, showed gratitude to Dodgers fans for their support over the years.
The left-hander quickly emerged as a fan favorite during his time with the Dodgers, and he was similarly revered in the clubhouse as well. Justin Turner took to Instagram to express how much he’ll miss seeing Ryu around next season.
Walker Buehler also congratulated Ryu while wishing him the best of luck going forward.
In 126 games (125 starts) with the Dodgers, Ryu compiled a 54-33 record, 2.98 ERA, 3.32 FIP and 1.16 WHIP over 740.1 innings pitched. Now that he is off the board, L.A. will have to turn their attention elsewhere to upgrade the starting rotation.
The Dodgers have targeted Mike Clevinger in trade talks with the Cleveland Indians, ideally hoping to acquire him in a blockbuster deal that also includes All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor.
As for remaining free agent options, the club could look to re-sign Rich Hill to a one-year contract. The 39-year-old, however, is expected to be sidelined through at least June of the 2020 season after undergoing offseason elbow surgery.
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