Go to contents

Ryu Hyun-jin leaves for Toronto on Christmas

Posted December. 25, 2019 07:30,   

Updated December. 25, 2019 07:30


“Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin, who agreed to a four-year, 80-million-dollar deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, will leave for Toronto on Christmas for his medical test. If he passes the test, the Korean pitcher and Blue Jays will sign a contract before having a joining ceremony, which will officially take him off the FA market.

The Blue Jays plays in the American League East where competition is the fiercest. Often called “AL East,” its franchises include the famous New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays with Choi Ji-man and the Baltimore Orioles where Kim Hyun-soo previously played.

In the American League, every pair of teams in the same division plays 19 games per season. The big match for South Korean and Japanese baseball fans would be the one between the Blue Jays and the Yankees where Ryu will play against Masahiro Tanaka. Ryu is 14-5 with a 2.32 ERA while Tanaka is 11-9 with a 4.45 ERA.

Ryu is likely to meet Choi Ji-man on the field who went to the same high school as his and plays in the Tampa Bay Rays. The two players have yet played against each other even though Choi became a regular this year. The Tampa Bay Rays has signed famous homerun hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugo during the offseason.

Playing for the Blue Rays means more chances of seeing Choo Shin-soo of the Texas Rangers on the field, the eldest Korean baseball player playing in the MLB. The Toronto team will have seven matches with the Texas Rangers, a franchise of the American League West, next year. Ryu has previously recorded no hit, one walk and one strikeout against Choo.

Ryu will also play against Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels who is a pitcher and a hitter. The Blue Jays has six matches with the Angels from the West division. Depending on which position Ohtani takes, it will be a match between two pitchers or between a pitcher and a hitter.

Many people are looking closely at whether Ryu will play against Kim Kwang-hyun of the St. Louis Cardinals who will debut in the MLB next year. They have never met on the field while playing in the KBO. The Cardinals, which play in the Central division, will have a match the Blue Jays in the Interleague. They have a total of four games on June 2 and 3 and August 19 and 20.

Ryu will work together with Danny Jansen, who is a regular catcher of the team. He is not a strong batter with a 0.207 batting average, 13 home runs and 43 RBI but considered a great catcher.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com