UPDATE (Dec. 22, 8:20 p.m. PT): Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Toronto Blue Jays reportedly agreed to a four-year, $80 million contract.
Coming off multiple years in which MLB free agency was slow moving, it wasn’t clear what to expect for the market this winter despite the likes of Gerrit Cole, Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rendon, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Stephen Strasburg.
After all, last offseason saw Bryce Harper and Manny Machado fail to land their respective contracts until Spring Training. But in a pleasant turn of events, Strasburg, Cole and Rendon came off the board on consecutive days during the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Prior to that, Zack Wheeler agreed to a long-term contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Soon after the three headline free agents signed, Madison Bumgarner inked a five-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
On Saturday, Dallas Keuchel agreed to a three-year deal with the Chicago White Sox. The flurry of activity has left Ryu as the best available starting pitcher. And according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, the southpaw is drawing plenty of interest:
There are seven teams now actively engaged in talks for free-agent starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, two who jumped in after not landing Dallas Keuchel. Ryu, who will be the next big free-agent pitcher to sign, will be rewarded handsomely after finishing 2nd in NL Cy Young race with #Dodgers
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 22, 2019
Thus far the Los Angeles Dodgers, L.A. Angels, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays have been among the teams connected to Ryu. At one point the Twins were said to have the 32-year-old as their top target.
While the Dodgers have been reported as having interest in re-signing Ryu, he recently said that hadn’t been conveyed by agent Scott Boras. It’s unclear how willing Ryu may be to make his home in Minnesota or Toronto, though he and Boras have both dismissed geography as being a significant factor in free agency.
The Dodgers have a need for a starting pitcher, but may be more inclined to acquire Mike Clevinger as part of a Francisco Lindor trade with the Cleveland Indians, than extend to four or five years in order to retain Ryu.
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