Could Dodgers run into old friend during exhibition games in Korea?

Divisional Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals - Game Three
Divisional Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals - Game Three / Will Newton/GettyImages
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Hyun Jin Ryu has been playing professional baseball since he was 19 years old. He won the Korean Triple Crown in 2006, his rookie season, was the KBO's Rookie of the Year and MVP, and he was an All-Star for all seven of his seasons in Korea. When he came over to MLB, on a six-year, $36 million deal with the Dodgers, he was only the 13th Korean player to do so, and the first in seven years.

He wasn't truly great for the Dodgers until the final year of his contract, when he pitched over 180 innings for a 2.32 ERA and placed second in Cy Young voting. He left for the Blue Jays in free agency after that well-timed 2019 season on a four-year deal, but was taken out for the vast majority of three of those seasons with more injuries.

For his age 37 season, Ryu will reportedly wrap up his career back in Korea. Per Jee-ho Yoo of Yonhap News, Ryu is headed back to the Hanwha Eagles, the team he made his KBO debut with in 2006.

The Dodgers will also be headed to Korea is just one month's time to open their season against the Padres in Seoul, but only after playing exhibition games against the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO and Korea's national team, leaving the door open for a possible Dodgers-Ryu matchup.

Former Dodgers pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu is headed back to the KBO

When a deal is finalized with the Eagles, Ryu will be Korea's highest-paid player ever, with a 17 billion won (around 12.75 million USD) contract. What better time to see their highest-paid player make his return to the KBO than against one of his former MLB teams? Ryu has never played for the Korean national team during his professional career, but a matchup against the Dodgers would be thrilling. He never faced them during his four years in Toronto, and now, with LA's lineup as fearsome as it is, they could put on quite a show by tangoing together.

Before taking on the Padres in a two-game set on March 20-21 at 3:05 AM PST, they'll face the Heroes at a much more American-viewer-friendly 8:00 PM on March 16, then will compete against Team Korea on March 18 at 3:00 AM. The game against Team Korea already had some interesting storylines — namely, Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto taking on a squad their Team Japan has a lot of historical beef with — but adding Ryu into the mix could make everything even more enticing.

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