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Monday, December 23, 2019

Blue Jays To Sign Hyun-Jin Ryu

The Blue Jays have signed left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year, $80MM contract, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  Ryu’s deal doesn’t have an opt-out clause, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link), while MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that there is a partial no-trade clause involved.  Ryu is represented by the Boras Corporation.

The news ends a spirited market for Ryu’s services, as at least six teams (the Dodgers, Angels, Braves, Padres, Cardinals, and Twins) were all known to have some degree of interest in the southpaw this offseason.  While all of those teams were either playoff clubs in 2019 or are planning to contend in 2020, it was the rebuilding Blue Jays who made the big strike, announcing that their own return to contention is coming sooner rather than later.  The Jays were known to be looking at both the top tier and the lower tiers of the pitching market, though the signing still comes as a surprise, given how Toronto’s previous acquisitions had been more modest.

Ryu joins Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson, and Shun Yamaguchi as newly-acquired members of Toronto’s rotation, completely overhauling a starting staff that was expected to be a major point of emphasis this winter.  Yamaguchi could wind up in the bullpen if the Jays go with some combination of in-house candidates Matt Shoemaker, Trent Thornton, Ryan Borucki, Anthony Kay, or Jacob Waguespack for the final two rotation places.  Star prospect Nate Pearson is also expected to make his big league debut at some point in 2020, so one of those rotation spots could ultimately be earmarked for him down the stretch, or the Jays could ease Pearson into the majors as a reliever.

While Pearson may be the ace of the future, Ryu is now firmly the ace of the present.  The lefty finished second in NL Cy Young Award voting last season on the heels of a league-best 2.32 ERA and 1.2 BB/9, as well as a 6.79 K/BB rate, 8.0 K/9, and 50.4% grounder rate.  ERA predictors weren’t quite as impressed (3.10 FIP, 3.32 xFIP, 3.77 SIERA) with Ryu’s performance, while his modest 90.6mph fastball finished in the bottom 11th percentile in both fastball velocity and spin rate.

Well, we shall see if this was the right move for the Blue Jays to make.

 

QLE Posted: December 23, 2019 at 01:22 AM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, contracts, hyun-jin ryu

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 23, 2019 at 08:58 AM (#5910539)
Bold move. Nice to see them trying to jump start the rebuild.
   2. jmurph Posted: December 23, 2019 at 09:07 AM (#5910541)
So they try to get out of this one in... year two? Three?
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 23, 2019 at 09:26 AM (#5910543)
So they try to get out of this one in... year two? Three?

I don't understand. The Blue Jays have no history of quickly dumping contracts.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: December 23, 2019 at 09:38 AM (#5910546)
Toronto has a bustling Koreatown - I wonder how much that played into it.
   5. Blastin Posted: December 23, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5910549)
So... Angels gonna do nothin on the pitching front, huh?
   6. Blastin Posted: December 23, 2019 at 09:54 AM (#5910551)
The Blue Jays have no history of quickly dumping contracts.


In fact they absorbed many bad contracts!
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 23, 2019 at 10:26 AM (#5910560)
Toronto has a bustling Koreatown - I wonder how much that played into it.

Is there a reason to suspect this wasn't the highest offer?
   8. jmurph Posted: December 23, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5910562)
The Blue Jays have no history of quickly dumping contracts.

Well they should look into it, because they just gave a guy who has 740 career innings over 7 seasons a 4 year deal.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 23, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5910565)
Well they should look into it, because they just gave a guy who has 740 career innings over 7 seasons a 4 year deal.

At Ryu's quality level, if he weren't injury prone, he'd be getting $35M p.a. instead of $20M. They're basically paying for 100-120 IP a year.
   10. jmurph Posted: December 23, 2019 at 10:40 AM (#5910567)
At Ryu's quality level, if he weren't injury prone, he'd be getting $35M p.a. instead of $20M. They're basically paying for 100-120 IP a year.

Hey tell it to this guy:
2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 17, 2019 at 09:25 AM (#5909199)
If given a choice between the Bumgarner contract and a hypothetical Ryu contract for the same or a great amount, which would you take?

Bumgarner. Ryu's great and all, but he's 33 and has zero durability. Dude pitcherd 396 innings over the last 4 seasons. Actually 5. He didn't pitch at all in 2015.

Ryu should get a short, high AAV deal with vesting options.

Something like 2/45 with 2 one-year team options at $20M, which vest into player options if he throws 300 IP in the previous two seasons.
   11. jmurph Posted: December 23, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5910571)
Also he will turn 33 when the season begins, he would absolutely not be getting 35 million a year if he were healthy.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: December 23, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5910581)
Also he will turn 33 when the season begins, he would absolutely not be getting 35 million a year if he were healthy.
Pretty close. Verlander wasn't a free agent and he got $33m for his age 37 and 38 seasons. A hypothetical Ryu who could be counted on for 210 innings is a comparable guy.
   13. jmurph Posted: December 23, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5910592)
I think it's pretty difficult to compare any current player to Verlander, particularly one with the injury history of Ryu. If Ryu were hitting innings numbers he's never really approached and also still one of the best pitchers in baseball he'd be worth more? Sure, that's just hard to imagine.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: December 23, 2019 at 11:17 AM (#5910595)
I went to double-digits to obtain this guy in my 2015 auction, and one rival prophetically said I would "Ryu" the day I took that risk. he was right.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 23, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5910602)
Hey tell it to this guy:

Of course I would have preferred my deal for the team, but a lot of teams were bidding for Ryu. I still like the Bumgarner contract better.

This deal feels a year too long, but $20M isn't going to break any team in 2019.
   16. Blastin Posted: December 23, 2019 at 11:35 AM (#5910608)
And that's it, that's the last good starter.

I guess maybe Price gets traded. But for FAs, that's it.
   17. JRVJ Posted: December 23, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5910612)
As per this FA ranking, this means that 11 out the top 12 FAs have signed prior to December 23rd (only Donaldson is left out there).

That's a pretty impressive off-season.
   18. The_Ex Posted: December 23, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5910613)
Reportedly the Dodgers didn't make an offer so that's telling.
   19. JJ1986 Posted: December 23, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5910616)
And that's it, that's the last good starter.
Jason Vargas is available.
   20. Blastin Posted: December 23, 2019 at 11:58 AM (#5910618)
Hahaha.
   21. Blastin Posted: December 23, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5910621)
Anyway, I hope the contenders cheaping out do poorly next year.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 23, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5910628)
Anyway, I hope the contenders cheaping out do poorly next year.

It's an odd phenomenon to see teams with large payrolls (some over $200M) cheaping out on marginal expenditures that might put them over the top.
   23. Rally Posted: December 23, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5910632)
Over the last 2 years he's 21-8, 2.21 ERA in 265 innings, 252-39 K-W. That would look like a Cy Young season from the 1980s if he had done that in 35-36 starts instead of 44, and of course did all of that in a single season.

That is well above his career numbers, but his career ERA+ is 129. If he had enough innings to make the BBref active leaderboard, he'd rank in this company:

6. Strasberg 130
7t. Verlander 129
7t. Ryu 129
9. Cole 127

So yeah, I can see how someone thinks a mythical Ryu that pitches 200 innings per year and has no injury history might make some bigger bucks.
   24. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 23, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5910634)
So... Angels gonna do nothin on the pitching front, huh?
The free agent pool has thinned a bit. Perhaps they are hoping to land Price & Eovaldi for Pujols?
   25. PreservedFish Posted: December 23, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5910644)
They signed Teheran, who appears potentially cromulent.
   26. Howie Menckel Posted: December 23, 2019 at 01:54 PM (#5910656)
I am an NL guy, so when I saw no one on the bb-ref 2019 Angels listed with 105+ innings, I blamed a hacker.

so is that right - 8 guys started 12-18 games but no one started 20? holy hell

the late Tyler Skaggs led the way with a 106 ERA+ in 80 IP
the "workhorses" were Andrew Heaney - 90 IP in a team-high 18 starts - and terrible swingman Trevor Cahill, with 102 IP.

Teheran had a 119 ERA+ in 175 IP - 33 starts - for the Braves.

his rotation mates no doubt will want his autograph.

   27. Rally Posted: December 23, 2019 at 02:16 PM (#5910661)
Hard to imagine now, since the Angels finished the season with 90 losses, but there was actually hope in mid-season, even after Skaggs' death. In the immediate aftermath the team got hot. Probably an emotional high as they tried to win games for Tyler. Nothing better than the combined no-hitter on 7/12, their first home game after his passing. They were 12-6 in the first 18 after Skaggs died, and stood at 54-49 after sweeping a 2 games series against the mighty Dodgers.

At that point you could almost smell a playoff run. Next on deck was a 4 game home series against the pathetic Orioles, followed by 3 against the even worse Tigers. Going 5-2 against those teams seemed almost like a floor, if they had done that the record would have been 59-51. That would have put them only 3 back of the 2nd wildcard to end July, and while the pitching staff was overmatched, it would have been the perfect time to add an arm or 2 at the trade deadline.

Instead, they lost 3 out of 4 against the Orioles and 2 of 3 against the Tigers, the team stood pat at the deadline, and the season went down the drain. Losing the first against Baltimore in that series might have been the single turning point that sunk the season. Angels had rallied in the 9th to send it to extra innings, then when down by 3 in the 15th, rallied again to tie it. Trout hit a bases loaded double to tie the game and David Fletcher was called out at home after a replay review. Orioles got 2 more in the top of the 16th but had no pitchers left. They sent out a backup outfielder with a 55 MPH fastball, and the guy threw a 1-2-3 inning to shut the Angels down.
   28. flournoy Posted: December 23, 2019 at 02:36 PM (#5910665)
Teheran has thrown 174.7 or more innings every year for the last seven years. The Angels have had pitchers log that many innings in a season only eight times during that span. Teheran's contributions will be very welcome.
   29. Rally Posted: December 23, 2019 at 03:19 PM (#5910680)
Since he made it to the big leagues for good, Teheran's worst season was either 2015 (200 innings, 95 ERA+) or 2017 (188, 97). Either outcome would be a huge boost for the Angels. Assuming he remains the pitcher he was for Atlanta and doesn't immediately develop gopheritis followed by Tommy John surgery, like most Angel pitchers.

And sadly, that is far from the worst possible outcome, as 3* Angels who started games in the last 11 years are now deceased. Including another pickup from the Braves, Tommy Hanson.

*at least 3, Hanson, Skaggs, Adenhart. Might be another I forgot.
   30. PreservedFish Posted: December 23, 2019 at 03:28 PM (#5910682)
Get outta here with your selective endpoints. I bet only 2 deceased pitchers have started games in the last 10 years.
   31. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: December 23, 2019 at 03:39 PM (#5910685)
It's an odd phenomenon to see teams with large payrolls (some over $200M) cheaping out on marginal expenditures that might put them over the top.


Is this ironic? Signings aren't marginal when they come with a 20%+ tax and other possible penalties.
   32. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: December 23, 2019 at 03:39 PM (#5910686)
Ryu is fantastic to watch and is a 4 WAR pitcher when he is healthy. However, it is hard to expect him to be dramatically healthier over the next 4 years than he was over the past 4 years.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 23, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5910693)
Is this ironic? Signings aren't marginal when they come with a 20%+ tax and other possible penalties.

Yes, yes they are. A 20% tax, only on payroll >$208M is nothing for an MLB team to worry about. A $230M payroll only triggers about $5M in tax.

Even with a 50% tax, spending $268M to run a $248M payroll and make the playoffs is far more profitable long term (and probably short term) than spending $220M to run a $215M payroll and win 83 games.

Baseball teams are wildly profitable, and ones that get to be worth $2B+ do it by making the playoffs 8 out of every 10 years. The Cubs and Red Sox cheaping out to save $20M makes little sense.
   34. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 23, 2019 at 05:40 PM (#5910711)
Great pitcher, terrible health record. This feels kind of like when the Dodgers got the last top season out of Kevin Brown before dumping him on the Yankees, except in this case they simply let him go as a free agent.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: December 23, 2019 at 06:56 PM (#5910733)
Ryu -- excellent quality, crappy durability. So yes, that's why it was only $20 M ... it is probably 1-2 years too long for that reason. On what a durable Ryu would have gotten -- sure, something awfully close to $30, maybe as high as $35, obviously for only the same 3-5 years. In addition to the aged Verlander, Greinke signed his monster contract entering his age 32 season. The Nats will be paying about $70 M for Scherzer's age 35-36 (substantially deferred I believe), Price will make $96 for 34-36. If our mythical Ryu was coming off 660 innings of 151 ERA+ (his 2017-19 average) and 12-13 WAR (pro-rated), why wouldn't a team sign up for 3/$100 to 4/$130? Teams recently committed more than that (in raw dollars) for ages 33-36 of Strasburg and Cole without knowing if they'll even be healthy by then.

Obviously the mythical Ryu doesn't exist. But the actual Ryu in 500 innings could put up 10 WAR -- probably wouldn't but he's got a shot at it. That's why I'd be pretty reluctant about year 4 but still the Jays can squint and see 600 innings I suppose which, even with some quality drop-off, should be close enough to what they're paying for.

Anyway, I am a bit surprised to see the Jays making something of a push this year, I figured they'd wait another year. You never know when a team will hit earlier than expected (happened with Astros and Cubs) but it's a tough division to try to sneak into the playoffs. Adding SP depth is nearly always a good idea on a young, blossoming team but in terms of making a move now, I would have expected more of a solid innings-eater type. Still, good for them and of course they should know more about where the team is right now than I do.

Reportedly the Dodgers didn't make an offer so that's telling.

First, which report? The excerpt above explicitly says the Dodgers were interested. Second, they weren't expecting him back in 2019 -- they made a QO and he accepted then scrambled to open up payroll room. They pretty clearly expected somebody to make him a multi-year offer even though he was a less-attractive FA pitcher last year than this. So I'm not sure it tells us anything they didn't tell us last year -- they aren't overly interested in signing him for many years for big money but that probably says more about where the Dodgers are in talent and payroll terms as they seemed to expect somebody else to step up.

Although they seem more concerned with their pitching than I am, the Dodgers still have Buehler, Kershaw, Maeda, Urias, Ferguson, Stripling, May, whatever they can get out of Hill and whatever AAA depth they have. They have plenty of depth on offense too but if they can pick up Mookie or Lindor long-term, those are obviously better places to spend money than Ryu.

EDIT: It's obviously a close call and I haven't looked at it in detail, but my gut reaction is I'd rather have Ryu at 4/$80 than Keuchel at 3/$56.
   36. Greg K Posted: December 24, 2019 at 02:06 PM (#5910863)
Toronto has a bustling Koreatown - I wonder how much that played into it.

Is there a reason to suspect this wasn't the highest offer?

He might mean that the reason the Jays were willing to make the highest offer is that they feel there is a local pool of Koreans they can draw in as fans.

The ace on my brother's Toronto-based baseball team is a Korean guy who apparently played with Ryu in school, or early pro ball in Korea (I'm fuzzy on the details). Apparently they are still friends, or at least acquaintances. He's probably pretty excited.
   37. PreservedFish Posted: December 24, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5910866)
He might mean that the reason the Jays were willing to make the highest offer is that they feel there is a local pool of Koreans they can draw in as fans.


Yes, that's what I meant. I know that Shea/Citifield always sells a whole upper deck section of tickets to Korean fans whenever a Chan Ho Park or Hyun Jin Ryu is on the bump for the visiting Dodgers. And it can't be a surprise that both of those guys played for the city with America's largest Koreatown (I think). I wonder how much local revenue Ryu can generate by engaging the Korean fans of Toronto - and how much international revenue, for that matter.
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: December 24, 2019 at 02:38 PM (#5910867)
an extra 5K fans per game at $50 a ticket is $250K x 16 home starts in 2020 = $4M not counting revenues from parking, concessions, programs, etc.

of course, him actually MAKING 16 home starts....
   39. PreservedFish Posted: December 24, 2019 at 02:52 PM (#5910873)
Whatever it is, it's something that other pitchers don't have going for them. It might be $1M, it might be $5M, but it's something the Jays are counting on, which helps justify the deal.
   40. cookiedabookie Posted: December 26, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5910993)
It's like an extreme version of the Rich Hill contract. Paying for quality, hoping for quantity

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