The Los Angeles Dodgers have been among the teams connected to starting pitchers in free agency this winter, with much of their attention reportedly going to Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. L.A. has additionally been tied to potential fallback options Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill.
The Dodgers were said to have met with Cole and Strasburg prior to the Winter Meetings this week. So too did the New York Yankees. With Strasburg electing to re-sign with the Washington Nationals, it’s left Cole as the most sought-after starter.
General perception has the Yankees and L.A. Angels due to engage in a bidding war for the 29-year-old. As the Dodgers remain on the periphery in the Cole sweepstakes, they reportedly remain among the teams interested in Ryu, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network:
#MNTwins are in on Hyun-Jin Ryu. Also: Jays and Dodgers (tho his old team is also looking even higher (Cole/Strasburg)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2019
As for the Toronto Blue Jays, they have Ryu as one of their focal points, according to Shi Dividi of Sportsnet.ca:
Should the Yankees win out on that front, not only would Cole become an obstacle to overcome in the American League East, but that would also increase the likelihood that the Dodgers circle back to Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is emerging as one of the Blue Jays’ prime targets.
The Minnesota Twins were first linked to Ryu at the beginning of December, with word of the Blue Jays’ interest surfacing days later. Signing with either would represent the first time Ryu has pitched for an American League team.
He of course has spent the entirety of his MLB career to this point with the Dodgers after being posted.
Although possible, Ryu signing before a decision from Cole and perhaps even Madison Bumgarner, may be unlikely. Ryu does figure to benefit from Zack Wheeler signing a five-year, $118 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
He went into the offseason as a Cy Young Award finalist and arguably the third-best starting pitcher available. In addition to Wheeler’s lucrative contract, Bumgarner’s future and his potential signing of a deal in excess of $100 million may influence Ryu’s market as well.
The southpaw recovered from lost seasons due to injury with impressive campaigns in 2018 and 2019. Ryu went a combined 21-8 with a 2.21 ERA over 44 starts the past two seasons.
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