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FA Ryu Hyun-jin, no return to Korea!

Canadian media outlet 'Sportsnet' reported on the 8th (Korean time) the news of Toronto's major power reform, saying, "The Toronto Blue Jays are working to uncover this year's shortcomings under the leadership of general manager Ross Atkins."

Toronto, which received a fall invitation as 2nd place in the American League Wild Card, suffered 2 losses in the Wild Card Series (best of 3 games) against the Minnesota Twins and was eliminated in vain.

Ryu Hyun-jin, who was eliminated in the Wild Card Series entry, ended his four-year association with Toronto without even being able to stand on the mound in the fall baseball season. Ryu Hyun-jin will qualify as a free agent (FA) in the upcoming Stove League.

Ryu Hyun-jin, who became Toronto's ace for 4 years and $80 million, led the team to advance to the postseason for the first time in 4 years with 5 wins, 2 losses, and an average ERA of 2.69 in 12 games in the 2020 season, when the number of games was reduced due to COVID-19. He had a successful first year of his contract, also finishing third in Cy Young (American League) voting, the highest honor for a major league pitcher.

The following year, Ryu Hyun-jin suffered a severe slump at the end of the 162-game full-time season, disappointing Toronto fans. Afterwards, in 2022, he suffered a slump with 2 wins in 6 games and an ERA of 5.67, and ended the season early after undergoing left elbow ligament fusion surgery in June.

Entering the final year of his contract, Ryu Hyun-jin recorded 3 wins, 3 losses, and an average ERA of only 3.46 in 11 games. Due to the aftereffects of elbow surgery last year, he only made his return in August of this year, and until mid-September, he cruised around being called a man of will, and then made a 5-point comeback against the Tampa Bay Rays on the 24th (4⅓ innings, 5 runs) and on October 1st against the Tampa Bay Rays (3 innings, 2 runs). continued to perform poorly. This is why Ryu Hyun-jin was eliminated from the Wild Card Series entry.

After the end of the season, the local media continued to undervalue Ryu Hyun-jin. However, the Toronto team had a different perspective. With Matt Chapman, Brandon Belt, Kevin Kiermaier, and Ryu Hyun-jin eligible for free agency, there was a hint that Ryu Hyun-jin would be the only player to negotiate to remain.

“We will miss Chapman, Belt and Kiermaier,” said General Manager Atkins. He said, “We will look for opportunities both internally and externally to fill the positions they left in the future,” but with regard to Ryu Hyun-jin, he said, “He can be our alternative.”

Toronto boasts solid 3rd starters, including Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassett, and Jose Berrios, but the 4th and 5th starters are more of a variable than a constant. Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi must prove that his performance this year was not flashy, and Alec Manoa, who was once an ace, must find the cause of his unexplained slump this year.

From Toronto's perspective, Ryu Hyun-jin could be the best pitcher to take on the 4th and 5th starting positions. Although he cannot play long innings, he is still recognized locally for his sharp breaking balls and professional pitches. He can easily go 5 innings, and that's his role as the 4th or 5th starter. This may be the reason why Ryu Hyun-jin was selected as an alternative.
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Sunday, October 8, 2023

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