The Toronto Blue Jays’ Hyun-jin Ryu, 36, is expected to be in high demand in free agency later this year as he continues to pitch consistently since his return.

Ryu underwent Tommy John surgery (TJS) on his left elbow last June. It was the second time in 18 years since 2004, when he was a sophomore at Dongsan High School, that he underwent the same surgery in his mid-30s, and the chances of a comeback were slim. Accordingly, the Toronto club is surprised by Ryu’s successful comeback.

Canadian media outlet Sportsnet reported on Aug. 8 (KST) that, “After undergoing TJS last summer, the odds of Ryu being able to pitch again, let alone effectively, were extremely low.” “At 35 years old and having the same surgery for the second time in his life, it was another challenge for Ryu, and Toronto was unsure how to plan for him in 2023,” the outlet said.

Toronto manager John Schneider told the media, “We were hoping he’d be back during the season, but he’s back to his old self, if not better,” adding, “The fact that he’s pitching so well is kind of a bonus for us.”

Ryu took the loss in his last start against the Oakland Athletics on July 7, but he allowed two runs on four hits over five innings, extending his streak of allowing two earned runs or fewer in six consecutive starts.

Toronto manager John Schneider called Ryu’s return to form “kind of a bonus.” USATODAYYonhap News
In seven games since his return, Ryu is 3-2 with a 2.65 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and a .219 batting average. In 34 innings, he walked eight and struck out 28. His fastball is coming down a mile or so from where it was before the surgery, topping out at 90.7 mph and averaging 88.9 mph against Oakland, but it’s impossible to regain velocity in a month or two anyway.바카라

Starting pitchers will be in higher demand than ever in free agency later this year, experts say. This is because so many teams are facing a shortage of starting pitchers. As of today, there are only 54 pitchers in both leagues who have pitched more than 100 innings, and that number is likely to drop over the course of the season. While this number is trending upward from 57 in 2018 and 61 in 2019 before the pandemic, down from 39 in 2021 and 45 last year, the competition for quality starting pitching remains fierce.

A veteran, experienced starter like Hyun-jin Ryu could be worth four or five starts or even more.

Max Scherzer was traded to the Texas Rangers in late July. USATODAYYouth Korea
However, concerns about Ryu’s “health” in free agency are unlikely to go away completely. That’s because in his 11 years in the majors, Ryu has had two surgeries and 13 stints on the disabled list, leaving him with a history of unreliable health.

In an article titled “5 Free Agent Starters the Mets Should Stay Away From This Offseason,” New York Mets fan outlet Rising Apple cited Hyun-Jin Ryu as the first case in point.

“Scherzer and Verlander are prime examples of why spending big on older pitchers is a risky gamble,” the outlet wrote. Given their track records, teams will be more cautious about selecting relatively older pitchers,” the article continued, “and Ryu falls into that group.

“He has a career ERA of 3.25 and a winning percentage of more than 6 percent, and he’s still throwing good stuff,” the publication continued, “but his inconsistent form and command have led to more walks. And the real reason he shouldn’t be in the Mets’ rotation isn’t one of skill, it’s one of health. He’s only shown good stuff and consistency when healthy. Ryu will be 37 years old next year. A pitcher of his age with that much of an injury history shouldn’t be a target for the Mets.

The Mets signed Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million deal in free agency in December 2021 and Justin Verlander to a two-year, $86.67 million deal last winter, but they were traded in late July to the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros, respectively. Both players failed to live up to their billing after joining the Mets and struggled with injuries.

Ryu’s age and injury history suggest that he will be no different.

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