After four years with the Toronto Blue Jays, free agent Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, visited Jamsil Stadium for Game 5 of the Korean Series. Fellow Korean major leaguers Kim Ha-seong, 28, of the San Diego Padres, and Lee Jung-hoo, 25, who is expected to enter the major leagues next season, were also on hand to watch the LG Twins win their third consecutive title.
Ryu Hyun-jin, along with Kim Ha-seong and Lee Jung-hoo, visited Jamsil Stadium on Wednesday, where Game 5 of the best-of-seven Korean Series was played. Ryu greeted former managers Kim Eung-ryong, Kim Sung-geun, and Kim In-sung, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and spoke with them briefly. He also participated in the ceremonial first pitch with Kim Ha-seong.
After the ceremonial first pitch of Game 5 of the Korean Series, Ryu sat down for a standing interview with reporters in the back of Jamsil Stadium. “It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve watched a KBO game, and I think it’s going to be fun,” Ryu said with a smile, adding, “I contacted KBO Commissioner Heo Gu-yeon directly because I wanted to watch.”
Ryu left the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2019 season to join the Toronto Blue Jays. At the time, Ryu signed a four-year, $80 million (KRW 106 billion) free agent contract with Toronto. Since then, Ryu has appeared in 60 games in a Toronto uniform, compiling a 24-15 record. In 2020, he went 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA in the 60-game shortened season, earning third place in the American League Cy Young Award.
After posting a career-high 14 wins and a 4.37 ERA in 2021, Ryu underwent elbow ligament splicing surgery (Tommy John surgery) after six games last year. His season ended prematurely. Following his successful surgery in June, Ryu worked tirelessly on his rehabilitation, including losing weight. He returned to the majors in August and looked like his old self. Although his fastball doesn’t have the same velocity, he has refined his breaking ball and sharp changeup, and he’s been cooking major league hitters. His command of his pitches and game management skills have also improved.
In the end, Ryu finished the final year of his contract with Toronto with a 3-3 record and a 3.46 ERA in 11 starts and 52 innings pitched this season. Even though he was sent packing after failing to make the roster for the wild-card game despite Toronto’s postseason run, Ryu’s value was on full display in the fall. For his career, Ryu has a 78-48 record with a 3.27 ERA in 186 games, striking out 934 batters.
Currently living in South Korea, Ryu is spending some quiet time with his family. There is a lot of interest in his future whereabouts. In the U.S., there have been numerous reports about his future destination. When asked about his future contract, Ryu said, “I’ll have to hear from my agent first. I think something will come out in mid-December after the winter meetings. I’m waiting.” “I’m not sure yet,” he said of his thoughts on a contract.
If Ryu does return to the KBO, he will have to come to his home team, the Hanwha Eagles, as he reached the major leagues through the posting system. During his homecoming last month, Ryu also showed his sincerity for Korean baseball, saying, “I still want to play for the Hanwha Eagles (my hometown team) for the rest of my career.”
But for now, Ryu’s mind is made up. His eyes are set on the major leagues next season. The prospect of a one-year contract is also being discussed in the United States. When asked about his physical condition, Ryu simply replied, “I’m fine,” and smiled. Local media outlets such as ESPN have also touted the pitcher’s chances of re-signing, saying he’s just what a team needs to bolster its starting rotation. Ryu’s agent, Scott Boras, also said on Sept. 9 that “Ryu will pitch in the U.S. next year, not in Korea,” adding that “there is a lot of interest from big league teams in Ryu.” He said that Ryu’s value is still high in the United States.
Ryu also praised Kim Ha-seong, who recently became the first Asian infielder to win a Gold Glove. “I’m proud of him,” Ryu said, “He’s the first Asian infielder to get it, so I think it’s great. I think he deserved it (the Gold Glove) this season, and I think he should be satisfied. He’s still young and has a lot of time left, so I think he’ll continue to do well (in the big leagues) with good management.” Kim was fully recognized for his defense, winning the National League Gold Glove.
In addition, Ryu said of Lee Jung-hoo, who will be entering the major leagues next season through the posting system, “I think he’ll do well. He’s the best hitter in the KBO. He has the skills that everyone knows. If he adapts quickly, I think he will do well in the major leagues,” he said. Lee Jung-hoo is also receiving a lot of interest in the United States. American media outlet The Score compared Lee to his client Masataka Yoshida, 30, who signed a five-year, $90 million free agent contract with the Boston Red Sox last year. Lee’s agent, Boras, said, “Lee (similar to Yoshida) is a premium middle infielder, can play defense and has good power. I think he is a player who will bring K-pop to the major leagues.”아톰카지노 주소
According to local media such as MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, and The Athletic, 16 teams have expressed interest or should be interested in Lee, including the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants. On the 13th, Sports Illustrated (SI) mentioned Lee’s name in an article titled “Yankees Expected to Redefine Major League Baseball Offseason”. “Outfielders like Cody Bellinger, Lee, and Rueredes Gurriel Jr. would be a good fit for the Yankees,” the article said. As such, Lee’s value has only increased over time.