Ryu is expected to sign a one-year contract or minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.”
A shocking prediction. On Thursday, MASN in the United States predicted that Hyun-jin Ryu will sign a minor league contract and compete in spring training instead of a major league deal. Given the style and history of Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, MASN predicted that the team will sign four or five veteran starters to short-term contracts in the 2023-2024 free agency market.
Ryu Hyun-jin, Bae Ji-hyun and Lee Man-soo play against the LG Twins during the game five of the Korean Series of the ‘2023 KBO Baseball Postseason’ at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, on November 13, 2023.굿모닝토토
MASN has identified a number of candidates who could sign short-term deals with Washington and be placed behind the plate. The first group of pitchers available for two-year deals are Michael Clevinger, Michael Lorenzen, Sean Manaea, and Tyler Mahle. The next group, however, is Ryu Hyun-jin, and it’s a shocker.
“Frankie Montas, Luis Severino, Kyle Gibson, Clayton Kershaw, Lance Lynn, Wade Miley, James Paxton, Ryu Hyun-jin, and reigning KBO Cy Young Award winner Eric Pedroia are expected to receive a one-year contract or minor league deal with an invitation to spring training,” MASN said.
While MASN may be making a subjective judgment, it’s a stretch to expect Ryu or Kershaw to sign minor league deals. Ryu will be 37 next year. However, he returned from Tommy John surgery and rehabilitation a year and two months ago to go 3-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 11 starts. Although his velocity dropped off a bit at the end of the season, he was still good enough to earn a 4-5 start on any team.
Given his durability and age, he’s unlikely to get a huge contract. But his stuff, command, and runner control are still competitive and proven in the majors. If the Nats actually approached Scott Boras about signing a pitcher like this to a minor league deal, I’m pretty sure they’d be politely rebuffed. Ryu is actually consistently mentioned as a possible fifth starter for many organizations. The consensus is that he’ll get at least one year and $10 million.
Toronto Blue Jays’ Ryu Hyun-jin returns home with his family at Incheon International Airport on Oct. 18, 2023.
On Oct. 13, Ryu Hyun-jin visited Jamsil Stadium in Seoul with his wife, Bae Ji-hyun, and met with Kim Ha-seong (San Diego Padres) and Lee Jung-hoo (free agent), as well as KBO President Heo Koo-yeon. There were a lot of baseball elders on the field that day, and Ryu went around to greet them individually.