Although they were then coming off a 67-win campaign and their third straight year without a playoff berth, the Blue Jays still managed to reel in one of the offseason’s highest-ranked free agents. They added former Dodgers southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu on a four-year, $80MM contract – the largest deal they’ve awarded since Mark Shapiro became team president late in the 2015 season. Shapiro discussed the Ryu signing, among other topics, with Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
Ryu was tremendous at times in Los Angeles, especially from 2018-19, and will now slot into the top of Toronto’s revamped rotation from the get-go. Still, the commitment the Blue Jays made to Ryu no doubt comes with its share of risk. The club is far from a sure thing to be an immediate contender, for one, so Ryu’s contributions early in the deal may not lead to a vast amount of team success. He’s also set to enter his age-33 season and has seldom been the picture of durability since debuting in 2013. Last year marked the first time since 2014 that Ryu threw more than 150 innings in a season.
The Blue Jays are obviously excited about having won the Ryu derby, but Shapiro acknowledged to Davidi that “time will tell the value return” on the pact. He continued: “Free-agent starting pitching in general is a high-risk market and we’re very aware of that. That’s why we’re so careful. You don’t pound your chest over signing someone. You have all your reasons for doing it, you know the risks going in. We identified the need and felt this was one of the best opportunities for us to get better and take a step.”
The Jays are hopeful Ryu will provide value in each year of the contract, but if most of it comes toward the beginning of it, “It’s certainly not ideal but it’s certainly not disastrous,” Shapiro said. He admitted that “contracts get more risky as a player ages, so you would expect to get more on the front side.”
Toronto’s cognizant that it took a chance in signing Ryu, but the fact that the team has so much young, inexpensive talent gave it the necessary “financial flexibility” to make that gamble. With Ryu on the roster, Shapiro’s all the more confident that the Blue Jays are “going to be good,” thanks in part to the “mass of talent” they’ve built up in recent years.
Ryu is the dictionary definition of high risk high reward.
I see him as a top 10 starter in the AL this year. Name 10 better?
Cole, Verlander, Sale, Bieber, Snell, Morton, Severino, Glasnow, Clevinger, Greinke. I’ll add Giolito and Montas for good measure.
How’d I do?
Ryu has been consistently better than Glasnow, Snell, giolito and Montas, even with his health issues. If the dude can stay healthy he will pitch like a true ace
Lol his fastball is in decline, he can’t stay healthy and he’s moving to a hitter’s park in the AL. He might as well get a bust tattoo.
@Cf I def see you POV! Some really good pitchers but I believe in Ryu more than some of the young guys you mentioned. We will see.
Well considering severino didn’t even pitch most of last year and is already shut down a few days into camp I wouldn’t have him in the list and isn’t Montas without cheating probably isn’t on it either
Montas? Severino? Glasnow? Bieber?
Was it too late for you to stay up and watch Dodger games over the past 7 years?
Shane Bieber tossed 215 innings and their FIP’s were 3.1 for Ryu to 3.3 for Bieber. Bieber is also 24 years old. Severino has been absolutely phenomenal when he’s been on the mound and you know he is also 26.
There’s a little subjectivity here either way. You’d think he said JA Happ was going to be a better pitcher from that reaction. It wouldn’t surprise me if any of Glasnow, Bieber, and Severino out pitch Ryu.
I’m going off sample size. I need to see more than one good season out of all those guys before I say they’re better than a guy who pitched to an ERA title.
I mean Bieber only has two ML seasons under his belt. Glasnow only the 1 as a FT starter. Ryu’s been around since 2013. it’s just not apples to apples if you’re trying to comp an entire career. Severino’s FIP pitching in the ALE is right in line with Ryu’s for his career too.
I don’t think any of the above are really ridiculous to say. It’s a projection for next season—not the past. You can obviously argue for or against any of those guys in the top 10.
Kluber, Minor, Lynn, Verlander, Cole, Greinke, Morton, Bieber, Glasnow, and Tanaka. Not biased towards any team whatsoever.
Oh crap, I forgot about Sale, replace Tanaka.
Going to be hard to build a compelling case for why Mike Minor is better than Hyun Jin Ryu.
Could’ve added Sale even with his 2019. E-Rod, Berrios, Minor, Lynn.
Truth is Ryu might be the best out of the bunch mentioned. This is why we play the game. We’ll see how he adjusts from Chavez Ravine to the AL East.
You know what this is called? Intimidation.
Ignoring health, this list might be fair, but then again, Ryu would also be part of this “adjustment” and then it becomes hard to say again. Some of the guys on your list only have one true ace season… but again though you could argue that for Ryu as well.
So we should just see how this list performs health-wise. Ironically, it’s the guys who are made of iron like JV and Greinke that have been chugging along, Greinke especially, as he is just a killer athlete it seems.
angels were right to offer him 3 years. 4 years of him will not have a happy ending.
Eduardo Rodriguez allday over him
Pippty, tell me how many innings he’s going to pitch? Here are his innings totals the last six years.
152, 0, 4, 126, 82, 182.
He’s 33 years old. Even if he pitches 152 innings, he wont be a top ten pitcher. If your team has money to burn, it’s a good gamble. If you have limited payroll, it’s a bad gamble.
I’m not sure there are many teams that could have afforded that kind of gamble.
How about half the league? Steamer has him pitching like a #4 and I doubt he even pitches enough.
Toronto needs to set proper expectations
* 20-25 starts/yr max
* 140-180 innings/yr max
* if they only lose him for 1 ‘year’ due to injury, that is a ‘win’
* if most of his innings come in August- Sept (and maybe 1 October), he is worth every penny
… gutsy signing, but Toronto needed to get ‘someone’ to be a 1-2 starter …
At $20-mil, 180 innings is the minimum. High salary, high expectations.
better having him throw 140 a year over him throwing 180 one year and then missing the next few years entirely. what they paid is past news now.
His contract was mentioned in the above article. It’s not past news, not even close. And if he has to be shelved for 180 innings then he wasn’t worth the contract.
The Blue Jays added Ryu for the same reason the Cubs added Lester. It wasn’t just for performance, it was to convince the team and fan base that the front office wants to make their team better right now. Like the Cubs, the Blue Jays have a lot of young talent.
When the Cubs won the WS you were 9 years old.
And this matters because…
Exactly. Anyone of any age can be a baseball fan.
You’re absolutely right. It just struck me so I said it… It’s truly remarkable. It wasn’t intended as a slight. But you went out of your way to make a point of it in your handle, so I think the topic is fair game…
You are so wrong about Lester, they added Lester because he was a durable ace caliber picture that the cubs needed at the time to pair at the top with arrieta. You can say they signed him because they wanted to prove they were ready to compete but that is a far cry as the main reason they signed him. Lester was still in the heart of his prime when he got the contract not at the back end like Ryu. Also, Lester has proved to be an ace type picture where even though Ryu has been dominant at times, isn’t that type just based on health reasons. Actually the Ryu signing and Lester signing don’t compare, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt just because you just got off the breast milk but I was wrong. Sorry kid
The comment says that the signing “wasn’t just for performance”. It does not say that the signing “wasn’t for performance”.
You’re right he’s 13 and he makes more sense than anything you’ve ever posted.
I wasn’t questioning his posts just stating his age at the time of the WS as a remarkable fact… Isn’t it remarkable? Take it easy. And btw, the same backatcha.
I didn’t mean to start a feud. Just drop it.
I think it’s great you are 13. That’s pretty much exactly why the Cubs added John Lester. They thought they were a couple years away from being very good. The Cubs were coming off 73 wins, they got surprise performances the year they got him and they made the playoffs.
Whether you are 13 or 60, That analysis is solid.
Agreed. And hopefully you’re a 13 year old who is playing the game. Awareness like that can help you stand out as a player at that age.
False, the Cubs signed Lester because he was an ace and 200 inning pitcher to go with their youth movement. Something Ryu never has been or will be.
Lester was also going from the AL to the NL which is generally a more favorable move for a pitcher.
Ryu isn’t a 200 innings guy, but he is an ace when he’s on the mound. 2.21 ERA over 44 starts the last two years, and the Dodgers could afford to rest him more than most teams. Never relied on velocity, all he has is one of best changeups in MLB, a very good curve, and pinpoint control.
Career 2.98 ERA, great soft contact numbers, which he pitches to get, and he doesn’t walk anybody. The issue is his health, but when he’s on, he’s as good as anybody.
And some of those injuries might turn out to be a blessing – he has less mileage on that arm than most other 33 year olds.
Did Shapiro give all the reasons he shouldn’t have signed him?
Lol it sounds like it. “Time will tell the value” isn’t near the top of the lists decision makers tend to say about their largest financial commitment before said player has thrown a regular season pitch.
They don’t have any other big contracts to tie their hands. So, while it is a significant financial commitment, it comes with little risk to the future and has some upside for a team in need of pitching.
Jays need cf and go sign puig and Bautista!€€
Fire atkins and sharpiro jays would be number 1 again
Jays need bullpen help too
Weird team heading into 2020, still kinda rebuilding but their rotation is full of 30 year olds.
Ryu is a great signing. He’ll likely work to expectations for 3 years of this deal, the 4th will likely be a lost year once his fastball tanks.
Good on Shapiro and Atkins to go get him.
Now go get a real centerfielder, 3rd basemen, and fill out the relief corps.
PS, Anderson is going to get hammered in the AL East as a starter. Guchi is a reliever, Borucki is down for now, that leaves Roark, Shoemaker, Thornton and Waguespack behind Ryu. Not a pretty sight for the rotation.
Last year I called for 76 wins, and they won 67. I think we’ll call 74 wins this year.
Ryu’s never relied on velocity, he pitches to soft contact, doesn’t walk a lot of guys, has really good control, one of the best changeups and a very good curve.
His stuff should age well. Wish he was still a Dodger, but we’ll always have his 2019 home run.
I don’t think the Jays are looking for a 3B. Agree about needing a legit CF, but easier said than done – there aren’t a lot of them out there so it not easy to acquire one if you don’t already have one. Might be able to find a good reliever at the end of spring when teams start trimming down their rosters.
Agreed mcappy. Vlad might prove he can’t be a 3B during the 2020 season but he deserves another shot at the hot corner for another season and while he’s in much better physical condition than last year. Jays might think Bo is a better fit at 2B and Biggio could become the CF in a few months. Who knows?
Its only a matter of time till Vlad Jr is heading for 1B. He makes three stellar defensive plays then boots the next one. It’s too bad but he is heading there. Although, I can see why the Jays would give him time.
We have to find out if it’s because he’s fat or bad.
Obviously I am going with bad, but I see your point.
All this working out is going to take him to superstar level at the plate once he learns to hit with the new body. If he needs to learn.
Hopefully the Jays won’t rue Ryu.
As long as he can stay healthy he will put up respectable numbers.
The best scenario for the Jays would be the young players learn from Ryu this year and capitalize next year (2021) into the playoffs.
The Ryu signing scare me because he goes from a weak NL division to a brutal AL division. He certainly had good numbers, but playing in less pitcher friendly parks, add the DH and higher regularly facing higher quality teams seems like good chance for some rough seasons.
NL West has Coors Field and Chase Field, two of the best hitters’ parks. Ryu pitches to soft contact and doesn’t walk anybody. It wasn’t the parks or the teams, his stuff travels well.
Not sure if this is a new part of your guys’ style guide, but I like the italicized quotes.
Ryu replaces stro. The rotation is slightly better than last year but that isn’t saying much. BP is weak besides Giles. Offense isn’t any better than last yr.
Roark replaces Stro, Chase replaces Sanchez, Ryu is a straight out up grade! Shoe and one of Thornton, Wag, Zeuch, Kay and Borucki to bridge for Pearson is a lot better than last season! Nothing at all wrong with the BP and the Bats will put up twice the offensive numbers than last season saw! Oh yeah and
GO JAYS GO!!
FEAR THE TRUE NORTH!!!!
Jaysfansince1977 gets it. Roark replaces Stroman! Stroman was never that good and a cancer to the team…
I do indeed miss Gibby too
Neither you or JaysFan get anything. Pecking order:
Ryu replaces Strogirl.
Roark replaces Sanchez
Fill out the rest.
Zooming back a bit to look forward to 2021, I’m hoping to see Ryu be a replacement for what Buehrle brought to the table.
Might end up more like a Dickey.
Both gave some good innings.
Pearson and another of these youngsters to take a leap into replacing what Stroman and Sanchez gave the team when healthy,
Anderson/Roark/Shoemaker or whichever replacements for these guys in the future could make solid Estrada/Happ/Liriano replacements.
And some nice chips developing to make a trade for a Price.
Sign an innings eater next offseason to save the chips would be ultimate, but need to see some of these chips grow still!
Major overpay by Blue Jays.
Who isn’t even on the Red Sox’ 40-man.
Says the Sox fan who’s team overpays everyone including the ball boys then trades away one of best players in the game so they can save on the tax!
All that rotation for the jays winning 74 games.