The Dodgers continued to stand pat with their starting rotation Saturday night, as Hyun-Jin Ryu signed with Toronto on a four-year, $80 million deal.
By heading up North, Ryu ends his seven-year stint in Los Angeles, a stretch that included injuries, success, and a large fan base. Ryu pitched in parts of six seasons with the Dodgers, spanning his physical prime after traveling to the MLB from the Korean Baseball Organization back in 2012.
With the deal, Ryu will swap the Dodgers Blue uniforms for those of the Toronto Blue Jays, ending his stay on a team that he saw win the NL West division title every season he was on the team.
The 32-year old Ryu, who will turn 33 at the start of the 2020 season, finished with 740.1 innings pitched in LA, with a 54-33 record and a 2.98 ERA. Ryu is only one of eight starting pitchers to have thrown over 300 innings since 2013 while holding onto a sub-3.00 ERA (a list that includes five Dodgers), and one of just five starters with over 700 innings of a sub-3.00 ERA during that span.
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Ryu certainly dominated for much of his time in Chavez Ravine, even if some of his time in LA was cut short due to injuries. Ryu missed all of the 2015 season with injuries while making only one start in 2016. But from 2017 to 2019, Ryu put together the best stretch of his MLB career, which was accentuated by his first-career All-Star game appearance and a second-place finish in NL Cy Young voting in 2019. Over these past three seasons, ‘Babe Ryu-th’ hit three doubles and homered, but more importantly to the team, he had the fourth-best starter ERA (his 2.74 mark trails Clayton Kershaw by just .04) in just under 400 innings.
For all the moments Ryu provided the club, fans are certainly thankful, even if his promising career lacked a stockpile of notable postseason wins (outside of his NLDS success) or 200 innings seasons.
But for many fans, reminiscing about Ryu’s Dodgers career is something best saved for the doldrums of January and February. Right now, with the sting of Ryu ditching Hollywood for Canada’s sportiest city, many fans certainly must be wondering how LA will handle life without Ryu.
Ryu carried the workload behind Kershaw for much of the past three seasons, helping bring Walker Buehler more fully into the fold. What will the Dodgers rotation look like without Ryu providing 150+ innings of a sub-3.00 ERA? Will the Dodgers use the rest of this offseason to fill a hole on the mound left by Ryu, or will the front office turn to Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, and veterans Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling to fill in Ryu’s craterous impact?
While these questions may seem far off, the importance of missing out on Ryu has many impacts on the likelihood of many consequent moves, such as resigning Rich Hill or trading for David Price. This transaction will hurt for a few days, but hopefully, the front office will give us what we all wished for and make a huge trade that softens the blow of losing Ryu.