The top flight free agents have dwindled down and in recent days, the Dodgers have pivoted in an effort to prioritize their activity in the trade market. Still, one of their own free agents ranks amongst the league’s best available: Hyun-Jin Ryu.
With the way Scott Boras — also Ryu’s agent — has been operating this offseason, Ryu is going to go for an extreme price in free agency. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, he could garner a deal in the realm of the deal Madison Bumgarner recently signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks:
Expectation within industry is Ryu will exceed Bumgarner’s $17M average annual value in deal of at least four years. Two industry people with knowledge of starting-pitching market predict minimum four years, $80M. Teams still in need of starter include #BlueJays; #Angels; #Twins.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 17, 2019
While Ryu was a fan favorite and many want him back, he might not be the best use of money at this juncture. Boras is a smooth operator and it is highly unlikely that Ryu would give the Dodgers a hometown discount — something they would need to make it reasonable to re-sign him. If the Dodgers were to sign Ryu to somewhere around a four-year, $80 million deal as Rosenthal suggests, there would be a very slim chance at getting a return on investment.
Ryu has been amazing over the last two seasons, but then again, they were parts of seasons. Paying $20 million or more per year to a pitcher who has only eclipsed 180 innings in his career twice is not exactly good practice, regardless of what you believe about the Rich Hill signing in 2016.
According to Fangraphs dollar value estimations, Ryu has only been worth $116.7 million since his rookie campaign in 2013 — largely due to injury. At age 32 and potentially on the downside of his career, mixed in with injury history, is it a good option for the Dodgers? You can be the judge.
Ryu only makes real sense if the Dodgers fail to acquire a big name starting pitcher via trade and even then, a hometown discount would be nice.