Although the free agency class this offseason is headlined by Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, the next tier of players on the open market is comprised of talent in its own right.
It’s a group that includes Madison Bumgarner, Josh Donaldson, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Wheeler, among others. Yasmani Grandal was also part of it, but he signed a four-year, $73 million contract with the Chicago White Sox.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are believed to be interested in re-signing Ryu, and they have been connected to Donaldson as well. Both players have reportedly fielded interest from other teams.
In Ryu’s case, that has grown to include the Minnesota Twins, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune:
The Twins are unlikely to go after über-aces Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg in free agency, but they have interest in the next tier of arms. That group includes right-hander Zack Wheeler and left-handers Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu. While it’s still early in the process — there are no indications that contract offers have been made to any of them — recruiting has been going strong.
Signing Ryu would give the Twins a formidable front of the starting rotation that already features Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. Though, it would also mark the left-handers first time pitching for an American League team.
The Dodgers signed Ryu to a six-year, $36 million contract after he was posted by the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization. L.A. paid $25,737,737.33 to win exclusive bidding rights with Ryu.
His MLB career got off to a strong start but was thrown off course, beginning with left shoulder surgery that cost him all of 2015. Ryu then made just one start the following year and ultimately required an elbow operation.
The 2017 campaign produced mixed results, but that was followed by an encouraging showing the next year and Cy Young-worthy performance this past season. Even with some regression over four starts in the second half, Ryu went 14-5 with an MLB-best 2.32 ERA.
In addition to the Dodgers and Twins, the L.A. Angels are reported as having interest in the 32-year-old. Ryu is said to have a preference of remaining in Southern California, which could work in the Angels’ favor should he not re-sign with the Dodgers.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events and more!