Contrary to predictions that Ryu Hyun-jin will have to fight for the fifth spot in the rotation, Ryu signed a 179-million-dollar deal to receive the third highest salary in the team following Clayton Kershaw (310 million dollars) and Rich Hill (186.6 million dollars). The South Korean left-hander has earned the reputation of a “big game pitcher” by recording seven wins against three losses with a 1.97 ERA this season and starting in important games in the playoffs.
The Dodgersway.com welcomed Ryu’s return by saying, “Ryu could easily have gone and made more money with more years of job security with any other team but instead, he came back. He wanted to play in Los Angeles and it could very well be to prove himself and his worth for the following offseason.”
But there was one precondition. The Dodgersway.com said a healthy Ryu is dominant and he was worth the money on the mound. Like the website said, Ryu Hyun-jin is dominant “when on the mound.” If he wants a “free agent jackpot” next season, he will have to perform as good as this season. He needs to start in at least 30 games and pitch almost 200 innings.
“Ryu Hyun-jin’s pitching is as good as that of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. He deserves to be the third pitcher in the rotation,” MBC commentator Heo Gu-yeon said. "But I can only say that at the moment. He will have to prove his worth in the spring camp in order to secure his position."
It will not be an easy challenge. Only five players have accepted the qualifying offer for next season, and Washington Nationals catcher Matt Wieters was the only player, who signed a long term deal with a higher salary on the free agent market for the next season.
Brett Anderson, who played with Ryu in Dodgers, accepted a qualifying offer after showing impressive performance of 10 wins and nine losses in 31 games with a 3.69 ERA in 2015. But he suffered a lower-back injury in the spring camp and left Dodgers in the following year after pitching only 11 1/3 innings in four games. Ryu Hyun-jin has earned one more year to prove his worth. Will he be able to stay healthy and have a strong season?