Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dodgers’ Justin Turner are closer than you think

Adam Weinrib
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 and Justin Turner #10 score on a single by Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning of the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 and Justin Turner #10 score on a single by Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning of the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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When the Los Angeles Dodgers watched 2019 Cy Young runner-up Hyun-Jin Ryu take what’s his and sign a mega-deal with the Toronto Blue Jays following that season, we had no idea they were letting a pair of best friends drift their separate ways in the process.

Also, those, uh, Justin Turner-Blue Jays rumors from a year ago make a bit more sense in retrospect, don’t they?

The baseball world learned on Tuesday night, thanks to a Korean talk show, just how impressive the bond between Turner and Ryu really was back in their Dodgers days — and still remains today.

When the host asked Ryu about who his best friend was — not just in the game of baseball, but overall — he said Turner. And … why are we all just finding out about this now?!

The Los Angeles Dodgers broke up best friends in Hyun-Jin Ryu and Justin Turner.

Turner and Ryu were Dodgers in tandem from 2014-2019, and certainly made the most of their various ups and downs.

Ryu was there in ’14 when Turner turned his career around with a breakout .340 season that showed off his perfectly-revamped swing. Turner was by Ryu’s side when he missed the 2015 and the vast majority of 2016 rehabbing.

But in 2018 and ’19, everything came together for both men. The 2018 NL Champion Dodgers were led by Ryu’s 7-3, 1.97-ERA campaign while Turner finished 14th in the MVP chase (though Ryu got pummeled in his World Series start), and the 2019 club would not have gone nearly as far without Ryu’s breakout pre-free agency campaign and Turner’s 130 OPS+/

And then, just like that, Ryu flew the coup — but never forgot where he came from, or who he left behind. According to the lefty, he and Turner have very much kept in contact since the divorce.

It’s unclear if you’d rather, objectively, be a Dodger than a Blue Jay right now for the first time in recent history. With a young lineup built to crush, there’s a very bright future in Toronto with Ryu at the helm.

We’d rather have kept both besties in LA, but if the Dodgers decline Turner’s 2023 team option, you’ll know which bench to find him on.

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