Ryu Hyun-jin (37), who is still an FA, emerged as a candidate to recruit the Minnesota Twins, the winner of the American League Central Division in the Major League last year.
Puckett Pond, who deals with Minnesota in the U.S. media Fancied, mentioned Ryu Hyun-jin on the 11th (Korea Standard Time) when referring to “five FA players Minnesota should target after recruiting Carlos Santana (38).꽁머니사이트
Minnesota, which had a relatively quiet transfer market, showed off its presence belatedly by trading second baseman Jorge Polanco to the Seattle Mariners on April 30 and then recruiting veteran first baseman Santana with 301 home runs. To maintain its win in the district last year, the team needs additional reinforcement. Notably, the starting lineup, which includes ace Sonny Gray (35) and veteran Kenta Maeda (36) of the Detroit Tigers, needed reinforcement.
Ryu Hyun-jin, mentioned along with outfielders Adam Duvall, Tommy Pham, Michael Taylor and starting pitchers Johnny Cueto and Brandon Woodruff, was the most reasonable player as Maeda’s replacement, judging by the media. Puckettpond did not mean much about Cueto’s recruitment earlier, saying, “There is also a reason why I want to watch a once-famous player bounce back in his career once again.”
However, regardless of his personal preference, Ryu considered it practically beneficial for Minnesota. “It could be Ryu who is much more logically suitable for Minnesota than Cueto. Ryu is still a good player and could be a potential slipper,” Puckettpond said. “Although most of the reasons Cueto deserves to bring in apply to Ryu, Ryu is not so bad at all. Both are recovering from injuries, Ryu has been much more productive with the Toronto Blue Jays.” Slippers are often used in the famous American web game “major league fantasy,” and they do not attract attention at first, but they are players who can expect surprise performances during the season. It is not the first time among the four or five starters that Ryu has a subtle evaluation of Ryu.
For now, a solid career will increase the credibility of Ryu. Since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers through the Major League posting system in 2013, Ryu has been nicknamed the “Korean Monster” as he spent a successful 11 seasons with 78 wins and 48 losses and an earned run average of 3.27, in 186 games. He is also highly praised for having risen again despite numerous hardships including surgery on the left shoulder joint in 2015 and the second surgery on ligament in his left elbow (Tommy John Surgery) in 2022. A fatal injury that determines that even if he successfully rehabilitates, he will not be able to perform as well as before. However, Ryu has made a splendid comeback by changing his pitching style and pitching design, ranking second in the National League Cy Young Award in 2019 with 14 wins and five losses and an earned run average of 2.32.
At the age of 35, Ryu also stood up for Tommy John Surgery. He returned to the club in August last year and became the second free agent in his 11 starts with a 3-3 record and an ERA of 3.46 in 52 innings. “Ryu Hyun-jin only made 11 starts for Toronto last year, but he displayed enough off-speed pitching to join Minnesota’s excellent pitching staff,” Puckettpond said, shedding light on last year’s record.
There was one more thing that attracted Ryu. It was the presence of Maeda, who left for Detroit this winter after playing for Minnesota for three years and Ryu’s teammate at LA Dodgers. “Compared to Ryu Hyun-jin and Maeda, it is scary how similar their past careers are,” Puckettpond said. “Both of them are aiming to rebound from elbow surgery after their overwhelming performance at LA Dodgers in the late 2010s. In 2020, Maeda took second place in the Cy Young Award and Ryu took third place in the American League Cy Young Award.”
Maeda joined the Major League as a Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher in 2016, and after four years with Ryu Hyun-jin, he left for Toronto and Minnesota after the 2019 season, respectively. As a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Maeda gradually lost trust, recording only 47 wins and 35 losses with a 3.87 ERA and 641 strikeouts in 137 games (103 starts) and 589 innings. However, after moving to Minnesota in 2020, he made a stellar comeback by posting six wins and one loss with an earned run average of 2.70 and 80 strikeouts in 66 ⅔ innings, ranking second in the American League Cy Young Award.
Since then, Maeda has continued his starting rotation except for 2022, when he missed the entire season due to elbow surgery. He underwent hybrid surgery in August 2021 to insert artificial parts into his elbow ligament, and returned in April last year to record six wins and eight losses with a 4.23 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 104 ⅓ innings in 21 games. Thanks to this, he was able to sign an FA contract with Detroit in November last year on good terms worth 24 million dollars for two years.
Notably, the team ranked No. 1 in both its first and last years in Minnesota, leaving good memories for the team. After winning the American League Central last year, Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said Maeda played the role of clubhouse leader. “Maeda is a player who ignites (his teammates),” his teammate Carlos Correa said in high praise of Maeda’s leadership in the clubhouse.
He expected the same performance from Ryu, who had a similar career and track record to Maeda. “The fact that Ryu is still an FA bodes well in terms of cost as well. Ryu’s estimated annual salary was around 8 million U.S. dollars at the start of this offseason, but he could lower the price and compensate (the total amount) with incentives,” Puckettpond said. “Ryu cannot solve the problem that Gray (who was an ace) left. However, expectations are high among pitchers who will audition for Maeda’s vacancy in the starting rotation.”