Hyun Jin Ryu makes sense for Padres

Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Free-agent Korean LHP Hyun Jin Ryu makes perfect sense for the San Diego Padres. 

The San Diego Padres need pitching. That cannot be said enough.

With Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish leading the staff and both coming off arm injuries to close the 2023 season, the Padres will need help.

The trade of Juan Soto brought in four pitchers who could potentially help in the coming season. Michael King will be leaned upon heavily as the headliner of the return from the Yankees. Young major league pitchers Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez bring some experience, and Drew Thorpe is considered a prospect near major league service time.

These four pitchers will help, but the Padres certainly need more arms with the ability to start.

Hyun Jin Ryu is a veteran left-handed pitcher who is a free agent and is considered a very unheralded pitcher throughout his career. Ryu owns a 3.27 ERA in his 10-year MLB career with an impressive 1.184 WHIP in 185 games started and over 1,000 innings.

During the 2019 season, Ryu was brilliant, finishing second in N.L. Cy Young voting. In his last year with the Dodgers, Ryu posted a 14-5 record with a league-leading 2.32 ERA and a 1.007 WHIP. That productive year landed Ryu an $80 million contract with Toronto for four years.

In early 2022, Ryu hurt his pitching elbow and ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery. He came back last season and produced a 3.46 ERA in 52 innings pitched for the Blue Jays.

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The free agent is getting some looks now from franchises as they set their rosters for 2024. The Red Sox, Nationals, Orioles, Mariners, and Pirates are all looking for pitching and have been linked to Ryu to some degree. The Padres join that list as they dumpster dive for second-tier pitching.

Throughout his career, Ryu has shown to be a proven starter. His only blemish is that he does seem to battle nagging injuries constantly. That is a little worrisome, as the Padres will need innings eaters. Ryu has only thrown over 150 innings in four of his 10-year major league career. The southpaw is a strike-thrower and generally does not strike out a lot of batters.

It will all come down to cost when it comes to Hyun Jin Ryu and the San Diego Padres. The Friars cannot afford to throw away money at this point in the winter. They are slowly building the roster, and some would argue finding two viable outfielders is more of a pressing issue for the Padres right now. Only time will tell what the Padres do with the roster. Hyun Jin Ryu makes sense, but the Padres are not his only suitor.

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