“Do you think Ryu Hyun-jin will stay in Toronto?” The questions began.

This is the second time. It’s a question that Toronto reporters sneak up on you and ask.

Listen carefully: “Do you think you’ll stay in the majors?” not “Do you think you’ll stay in Toronto?

If I had asked the same question two months ago, they would have looked at me like I was crazy.

This means that Ryu’s status has changed. It’s something he’s created for himself through repeated strong performances.

Since joining the starting rotation in August, Ryu has pitched 40 innings in eight games with a 2.93 ERA. He has a 1.050 WHIP, 1.4 home runs, 2.0 walks, and 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

His walks and hits per nine innings are not as high as they were in 2019 (0.8/1.2), but are on par with his four years in Toronto (1.2/2.0). His adjusted ERA of 147 is the second-best since 164 in 2020.

His average batted ball velocity is 86.7 mph, close to his career mark (87.8). The on-base percentage (5.8%) is the best since 3.2% in 2020. His hard hit rate was 32.5%, an improvement over his last two seasons when it was over 40%. His expected batting average (XBA) of 0.234 and expected slugging percentage (XSLG) of 0.361 are both better than his career numbers (0.251/0.400).

This is from a pitcher in his mid-thirties, returning from a second Tommy John surgery. Typically, pitchers returning from Tommy John surgery struggle with their mechanics in their comeback season.

Instead, Ryu lost his velocity. His average velocity on his four-seam fastball is 88.5 mph, which is slower than last season (89.3 mph) before the surgery. That’s in the bottom 2% of the league. But he overcomes this with his unique delivery and mix of pitches.

The opposition hasn’t been kind either. Of the seven teams he’s faced so far, four have been postseason contenders with a winning percentage above .500. Even at Coors Field, a tough place for pitchers, he survived with five innings of two-run ball.

Back in July, Ryu told this reporter that his criteria for staying in the big leagues in 2024 would be to show that he can “still compete. From the looks of it, he can certainly compete.

That’s a lot of words. Now let’s answer the question. Will Ryu stay in Toronto?

Let’s rephrase the question. Does Toronto want Ryu to stay?

To be fair, the Jays aren’t desperate for a starter. Their other starters – Jose Berrios, Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassett, and Yusei Kikuchi – will all be back in 2024. Even the troubled Alec Manoa will remain with the team.

Down the line, MLB.com’s No. 1 club prospect, left-hander Ricky Tideman, awaits. Injuries have limited him to 14 games and 40 innings this season, but he’s made it all the way to Double-A and will be at Triple-A at the end of the season.

He’s 5-0 with a 5.06 ERA in 11 Double-A games, but it’s encouraging that he’s allowed just one home run in 32 innings pitched. In his minor league career, he has allowed 0.3 home runs, 3.8 walks, and 14.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

It would be unrealistic to expect Tideman to jump right into the opening rotation in 2024. He’ll likely start the season in Triple-A and join the major league rotation midseason.

Toronto will need a veteran to buy time until he’s ready.

Is Ryu the man for the job? When Hyun-jin Ryu was just coming back, expectations for him might have been that high.

But what Ryu is showing right now is far more than a veteran to buy time. “I think he can get a two-year contract,” said one of the two reporters who asked this question.스포츠토토

The market isn’t all bad, either.

There are a number of lefties hitting free agency this offseason, including Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw, Jordan Montgomery, James Paxton, Martin Perez, and Alex Wood. Of these, only Snell and Montgomery have been consistent starters. Andrew Heaney, Sean Manaea, Wade Miley, and Eduardo Rodriguez could also become free agents, depending on whether they exercise their options. Julio Urias, who was highly touted as a big free agent, will never be seen pitching in the majors again due to domestic violence issues.

That’s a lot of free agents, and that means a lot of open spots. If Hyun-jin Ryu can keep his current form up until the end of the season, he could be worth a lot of money on the market.

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