Toronto Blue Jays: Hyun-Jin Ryu not likely walking through door

Ryu could be the rotation southpaw the Phillies have lacked. Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images.
Ryu could be the rotation southpaw the Phillies have lacked. Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images. /

The Toronto Blue Jays may be seeing their chances of landing Hyun-Jin Ryu slip away, but that may not be a negative.

Heading into the offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays had prioritized upgrading their pitching staff. While their top offensive prospects are reaching the majors, their pitching prospects are still years away. Understandably, the Blue Jays have been active, landing Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson, but still lack a top of the rotation starter.

In theory, that could be Hyun-Jin Ryu, a pitcher that the Blue Jays have been linked to since the beginning of free agency. However, according to reports, the likelihood that Ryu will be walking into the Blue Jays clubhouse is decreasing.

It is not a surprise that Ryu would see his potential earning power increase. He is easily the top free agent pitcher on the market, coming off a career year in which he posted a 14-5 record, along with a league leading 2.32 ERA and a 1.007 WHiP. Over his 182.2 innings, he struck out 163 batters while issuing only 24 walks.

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Yet, there is still considerable risk with Ryu. 2019 was the only season since 2014 in which he threw over 130 innings. Ryu also has just two seasons in that span where he made over 15 appearances. He has a number of injury woes from 2015 through 2018, with last year being the rare healthy campaign.

When Ryu is able to get onto the mound, he has proven that he can be one of the top pitchers in the game. Although he may not have the stuff of the prototypical ace, the results have typically been there. Ryu is the type of pitcher that the Blue Jays need.

However, there is a limit as to what a team should spend on such a pitcher. Given the number of teams in need of a starter, it is thought that Ryu could earn a four year contract approaching $70 million. With his injury history, that type of a contract is a dramatic risk. And, ultimately, not one the Blue Jays should take as they look to build around their young core.

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The Toronto Blue Jays may well want Hyun-Jin Ryu to front their rotation next year. Given the amount of interest in his services, that does not seem likely to happen.