Yankees: A look ahead at 5 best free-agent starting pitchers in 2020
3. Hyun-Jin Ryu
The Southpaw, Ryu, will be 33-years-old in March and has spent his entire six-year major league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has a career 52-33 (.612) record and a lifetime ERA of 3.03. His WAR this year is an impressive 4.1 and is 12.5 overall as a Dodger.
Ryu has four very good pitches; a cutter, a slider, a change-up, and a fastball between 89-92, topping out at 95 mph. He mixes all four pitches well over the course of a game.
This year he is 12-5 (.706) and has an ERA of only 2.45. At one point, his ERA during 2019 was considerably lower. However, he has been in a rut lately and has had numerous poor outings (including one against the Yanks) on the mound recently.
Nonetheless, Ryu is still enjoying the best season of his career and was considered a serious contender for the NL Cy Young Award during the first half of the season.
Ryu does have postseason experience, albeit with mixed success. He is 2-1 in league postseason competition and 0-1 in World Series play.
The Yanks should be hesitant to offer Ryu a contract of more than three or four years. In addition to his age, Ryu has experienced several injuries while with the Dodgers that have placed him on the IL for various amounts of time.
In particular, in 2015 he underwent major left shoulder labrum surgery that kept him out for most of the season. Whether he would be willing to leave the Dodgers and the west coast is uncertain.
It will be interesting to see if the Dodgers are willing to sign him to a long-term, lucrative contract given the team’s need to also hold on to their top players over the next three years.
Furthermore, the team was not able to acquire significant bullpen help before this season’s trade deadline. They may feel that their money would be better spent on obtaining a lights-out closer and a second top tier reliever via free agency (or trade) given their already outstanding brood of starters and starting pitching prospects.