Free agent left-handed pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (36) is expected to sign a short-term contract worth around $8 million (approx. KRW 10.8 billion) per year, according to local reports. Jim Bowden, a former Major League Baseball (MLB) general manager and columnist, predicted the destinations and salaries of the top 40 free agents in the stadium through US sports media outlet The Athletic on Jan. 1 (KST).
He ranked Hyun-jin Ryu 35th overall, saying, “He could get a one-year deal in the $8 million range, but it’s more likely to be an option-heavy deal than a guaranteed one.” His age, surgical history, and command issues will make it difficult for him to sign a long-term deal.” He also mentioned the Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins, and Detroit Tigers as possible suitors.
“Ryu has been impressive this year since returning from elbow ligament reconstruction surgery, starting 11 games and allowing three earned runs or less in nine of them, including five innings in six and six innings in one,” Bowden said.
“His fastball sits between 87 and 89 miles per hour (about 140 and 143 kilometers per hour), and he has a .276 batting average on his changeup and a .238 batting average on his cut fastball,” the article continued. However, Bowden believes that Ryu could be even better in 2024 than he was this year.
Ryu, who played his final contract season in Toronto this season, has been recovering in South Korea since returning home on March 18. Jung-hoo Lee (25, Kiwoom Heroes), who is trying to make it to MLB through the posting system, was ranked 37th. Bowden rated Lee’s price tag as “unexpected,” but predicted that the San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Toronto, Detroit, and other teams would be in the mix.
“MLB scouts are divided on Lee’s hitting ability, with some believing he will hit for power immediately upon entering the league, while others believe he will need a year or two to adjust,” he said. “Some believe he’s a .270 hitter, while others believe he’s a triple-digit hitter.” Bowden also weighed in on Lee’s individual skills.
“Lee has good contact and initiative, and he has more walks than strikeouts in the KBO,” he said. In terms of defense, he said, “Lee is a good center fielder with a strong arm,” and “his jumping ability and ability to follow balls are good.”
He also evaluated his power. “He has a longer-than-average stride, but he’s not a great stealer,” he said. He also criticized his lack of long-ball power .Meanwhile, Bowden ranked “superstar” Shohei Ohtani as the No. 1 overall free agent this winter. “Ohtani signed a 10-year, $477 million 스포츠토토존 ($648 million) contract,