Ryu Hyun-jin , who entered Major League (ML) free agency for the second time in his career, has opened the way for his return to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Canadian media outlet Sportsnet reported on the 8th (Korean time) the contents of a press conference held that day with Toronto general manager Ross Atkins, saying, “Toronto may bring back free agent players whose decisions are pending.”

Not long ago, Toronto advanced to the postseason as 2nd place in the American League wild card, but was eliminated by the Minnesota Twins with a series record of 0 wins and 2 losses. After suffering a shutout loss for two consecutive years, the future of General Manager Atkins and Toronto Manager John Schneider seemed unclear, but as they remained in office, there was talk of plans for the 2024 season.

Ryu Hyun-jin was one of four Toronto free agents who became free after this season, along with third baseman Matt Chapman , first baseman Brandon Belt , and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (33). At first, it seemed likely that these four people would not be caught.

Because of this, Chapman mentioned the possibility of returning to Toronto, but left all possibilities open by talking about the free agent market after Shohei Ohtani signed. Kiermaier said he would wait for a team interested in him, and Belt said he would even consider retiring. Ryu Hyun-jin was also waiting for a free agent contract, saying he would prioritize remaining in the major leagues.

But things have changed. General Manager Atkins drew a line, saying, “We will miss Chapman, Belt, and Kiermaier. We will try to fill the void both inside and outside the team,” but added, “Most of the pitching staff except Hyun-jin Ryu will return. There is also Alec Manoa, but Hyun-jin Ryu “It can also be an alternative for us,” he announced directly.

“Based on this press conference, the three players mentioned (Chapman, Belt, Kiermaier) feel there is little chance of returning to Toronto,” and “Chapman is expected to demand a large salary in the free agent market.” , Belt has been very honest about the fact that he may retire. Kiermaier has expressed his desire to play on natural grass pitches rather than artificial turf, so it is unlikely that he will return.”

It is not at all impossible that Toronto is considering Ryu Hyun-jin as a starting option. The long-term contract trio of Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, and Chris Bassett have solidified the starting lineup, but their future is uncertain. Yusei Kikuchi has not been clearly trusted as a starter to the extent that he is considered a bullpen and bulk guy in this postseason, and young pitchers, including Manoa, lack the experience and basis to entrust him with one season. For Toronto, which aims to advance to the postseason next year through appropriate external recruitment, retaining Ryu Hyun-jin, whom they already know, may be a better choice.

Ryu Hyun-jin, who hopes to remain in the major leagues, hopes for an acceptable multi-year contract in a situation where he is considered to be the last free agent. For him, Toronto could also be a good opportunity to make up for the past four years. When he joined in 2020, he received a four-year, $80 million contract, the highest contract for a pitcher free agent in Toronto club history. He was evaluated as opening a new era for Toronto as an ace who placed third in the American League Cy Young Award in his first year and led the team to the postseason for the first time in four years. However, due to injuries and poor performance, he ultimately finished with 24 wins, 15 losses, and an ERA of 3.97 in 60 games over four seasons.

BY: 먹튀검증디비

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