4. Hyun-jin Ryu – 2 Years, $40 Million Remaining
If you’re the Toronto Blue Jays and you want to woo major stars, you need to start with a free agent overpay to really set the era in motion.
Left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu was Toronto’s choice in the 2019-2020 offseason, and the Jays secured his services for ages 33-36 coming off a second-place finish in the Cy Young chase.
Bizarrely enough, Ryu also finished top three in the Cy Young voting in 2020, a fact most surely forgot because of the raging pandemic that swallowed that entire shortened year whole. At this point, though, Toronto fans likely can’t shake the thought that Ryu wasted his last effective and healthy season in the bizarre Empty Season Baseball campaign played in Buffalo.
In 2021, Ryu took a step back, eating 169 innings but posting a 4.37 ERA, 4.02 FIP, and league-average 102 ERA+. By the second campaign of his four-year deal to front the rotation, the left-hander was already looking more like a mid-rotation option, a trend that has only worsened in 2022.
This season, Ryu has battled a forearm issue, striking out 11 in 18 innings while sporting a 6.00 ERA in four starts. His profile always baked in deception, and his dominance wasn’t reliant on upper-echelon stuff. Now, with two years still on the books, the Jays have their fingers crossed Ryu can hang onto … something.
They’re also probably pretty happy not to see Robbie Ray on this list, either.