Nine games, three wins, three losses, and a 3.54 ERA.
These unassuming numbers are another record for Hyun-jin Ryu, 36, a free agent. He made his major league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013 and has amassed an 11-year postseason career until this year. In 41.2 innings pitched, Ryu has 21 earned runs, a .287 batting average, and a 1.39 WHIP.
His regular-season numbers (186 games, 78-48-1, 1 save, 3.27 ERA, .250 batting average, 1.18 WHIP) are a bit worse. Still, postseason experience means something else to major leaguers. It’s a dream come true for only 12 out of 30 teams. Ryu has already accumulated three wins there, so he’s a big leaguer.
However, Ryu didn’t get to enjoy the postseason with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he signed a four-year, $80 million contract from 2020 to this year. He only made one postseason start. It was in 2020, when he finished third in the American League Cy Young Award. In Game 1 of the Wild Card Series against the Tampa Bay Rays on October 1, he allowed seven runs (three earned) on eight hits with three walks and one strikeout in 1.2 innings.
In 2021, Toronto missed the postseason. In 2022, Toronto returned to the postseason, but Ryu was unable to take the mound as he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery. This season, Ryu made a successful comeback and Toronto made the postseason.
But it wasn’t enough. Ryu was now a No. 4 or 5 starter and had no place in the best-of-three wild-card series, which Toronto ended with two straight losses to the Minnesota Twins on Friday. Just like that, Ryu’s fall baseball season was over.
In his four years in Toronto, he made just one postseason appearance. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to play in the postseason, but fate wouldn’t let him, and he hit the free agent market a month later. “Ryu said he wants to sign with a major league team,” Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet Canada wrote on Twitter that day. 스포츠토토
He once again dismissed speculation that he would return to Hanwha in the KBO. It was expected that Ryu would stay in the major leagues. There are plenty of teams looking for four or five starters on short-term contracts every year. Ryu’s stay in the major leagues is a certainty, and the question is which team he signs with and at what AAV.
If he signs with a team with a better record, he’ll have a better chance of being on the mound in the postseason. Ryu’s last win in the postseason came on October 7, 2019, in the Division Series against the Washington Nationals while still with the Dodgers. He pitched five innings, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and three walks.
In fact, the possibility of Hyun-jin Ryu’s return to the Dodgers has been gaining traction. The Dodgers’ starting rotation has been riddled with injuries and off-field issues. They could really use a pitcher like Ryu. It’s all about how they feel about each other.