Hyun-Jin Ryu Likely To Have Surgery

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Sep 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) gestures to teammates before the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

There are a storm of media reports circulating around Hyun-Jin Ryu and his seemingly dead left shoulder today, and none of them are good:

This was later semi confirmed by a Jon Heyman tweet:

It is, all in all, really freaking

shitty

news for the 2015 team. If everything went well in rehab, Ryu was getting ready to ramp up his training regimen to potentially pitch in MLB games in June. We know too well that his rehab went pretty terribly and now he’s looking at a season ending shoulder procedure.

Since coming to the United States, he posted a 3.17/2.97 ERA/FIP split in the 56 games he started, and not without merit, he was great as a postseason starter in his first two seasons, posting a 2.81 ERA in the 3 games he started. His regular season statistics added up to the 18th best fWAR in the entire game prior to this season. So in essence, he was one of the very best international signees the Dodger team has made in a very very long time.

Instead of celebrating the last season with Ryu and Juan Uribe (noooooooo) on the same bench, we have to witness a pretty cobbled together starting rotation at least until someone hopefully named Johnny Cueto comes to save the day. I touched on the possibility of a Ryu surgery back when he was getting his first MRI 2 months ago, and it’s definitely something to keep in mind:

On the labrum injury

"The average for that group is 21.8 WARP post surgery, but that’s drastically skewed by Clemens and Schilling; among the other nine, it’s 10.0 WARP. That leaves another 17 pitchers (25 percent) floating somewhere in between those two poles, with seven of those 17 still active; the average post-surgical WARP for this group is just 1.8."

On the rotator cuff injury

"Seventy-three percent (24/33) of pitchers returned to MLB play at a mean of 17 months after surgery. No pitchers in the RCS group returned to MLB play during the index year. Twenty (61%) pitchers in the RCS group returned to MLB play during postindex season 1. Three (9%) pitchers in this group returned to MLB play by postindex season 2. One (3%) pitcher in the RCS group returned to MLB play by postindex season 3."

I should say, that we have no idea what kind of shoulder problem Ryu has, it might be fraying of the labrum, or god forbid it’s a rotator cuff injury. Regardless, nobody really knows until they operate on it (especially considering his last MRI came back “clean”) but it’s definitely a “shoulder cleanup” of some degree, and it’s probably going to keep him out of action for the full year. The absolute worst outcome appears to be a rotator cuff injury based off of prior happenings but luckily nothing has come out to suggest that.

Clearly there is some bad news, the reports of him not being able to hit 85 in the bullpen he threw recently were validated. Ryu probably won’t pitch this season, this puts more pressure on Brett Anderson to approach a career high in innings pitched and make 30 starts, this puts more pressure on Carlos Frias to justify the love that he’s gotten by the dude who called the Corey Kluber breakout, this puts more pressure on Brandon Beachy to make it back and be a viable option for a contending team but most importantly it puts a great deal of pressure on the front office to make a trade at some point in the near future, if only to keep the rotation that is running hilariously thin afloat.

There is also something that must be addressed, the shoulder surgery makes it more likely that Ryu will be a Dodger in his age 31 season

He needs 406 innings from 2016-2017 to opt out, and I’ll say that he doesn’t reach that. Whether or not he’s even worth rostering at that point is a valid and significant question, but an extra year of team control is an important ramification of surgery.

The good news? The Dodgers are 11 games over .500 in mid May and Ryu hasn’t thrown a single pitch. I think they’re going to be fine, it’s the future of Ryu that’s butty.

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