White Sox News

Should White Sox pursue Hyun-Jin Ryu?

Joshua Finkelstein
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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After missing out on Zack Wheeler, the Chicago White Sox have to come up with a backup plan in terms of acquiring a top starter this offseason.

While signing one of Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Madison Bumgarner are the obvious choices to pivot to, Hyun-Jin Ryu might be a good option as well.

Ryu, 32, is coming off the best full season of his career in which he had an MLB-best 2.32 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and a 3.10 FIP.

The left-hander also registered 8.03 K/9 as compared to 1.18 BB/9 to give himself a 4.8 fWAR in 2019 (FanGraphs).

That allowed him to be the only pitcher in the National League other than Jacob deGrom to receive a Cy Young vote this past season.

While there is certainly a lot to like about a Cy Young candidate on the open market, there are also some reasons to be concerned.

One of those is his extensive injury history with shoulder surgery and his elbow soreness in recent years being the two biggest injury concerns long-term.

Due to his extensive injury history, Ryu has only thrown over 150 innings three times since his MLB career began in 2013.

In fact, his 182 2/3 innings tossed in 2019 were the second-highest of his career and it was only the second time in his career that he tossed over 175 innings.

On the flip side, that could be argued to be good for his arm long-term as he might not have as much mileage on it as the average 32-year-old would have.

Furthermore, he is not expected to get nearly as much in terms of years or money on the free agent market as the top-tier guys despite having nearly as much 2019 success as all of them, if not more.

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors projects Ryu to only receive a three-year, $54 million contract this offseason from whichever team he signs with.

At that price, Ryu could very well be worth it for the White Sox even if they sign one of the top three pitchers on the market since he will get paid more like a second-tier starter anyways.

Imagine how good a rotation with Lucas Giolito, Ryu, and one of the top three pitchers (Cole, Strasburg, or Bumgarner) in it would be.

That would leave two spots for Dylan Cease, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech, and eventually Carlos Rodon to fight over behind those three.

Obviously, it is much more likely that Ryu would be their top pitcher added if they sign him, but even if the White Sox sign him as their top guy, it could still work out very well for them.

Next. Which Top-Tier Starter Should White Sox Sign?. dark

Hyun-Jin Ryu might come with some risk, but the White Sox should at least seriously ponder the idea of signing him this offseason.

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