Blue Jays: Ryu helping to convince KBO Star Ha Seong Kim?
Blue Jays ace, Hyun Jin Ryu reportedly met with KBO free agent Ha-Seong Kim to have dinner recently. Are the Jays using Ryu as a tool to help acquire Kim?
I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about why the Jays were interested in KBO star Ha-Seong Kim. In the article, I stated that the Jays may have a secret weapon in their arsenal that could help them persuade Kim to come to Toronto. That secret weapon is Blue Jays ace Hyun Jin Ryu, and apparently he and Kim met in Korea to have dinner.
The dinner was apparently Kim’s idea not Ryu’s, so it shows that he has an interest in meeting with the Jays’ star and hearing what he has to say about MLB and how he transitioned to it.
There’s no real info about what was discussed during the dinner, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that Kim wanted to talk to Ryu about transitioning from the KBO to the MLB, as he is one of the select few Korean baseball players that have made the move to America. Ryu could offer an idea about not only baseball and how the North American game differs from the Korean game, he could also provide insight about life and the differences in living in North America and advice on adjusting to the new culture as well. Along with giving some advice, I think it’s also reasonable to assume that Ryu did some selling on the Jays behalf as well, trying to persuade Kim to come join him north of the border and play for the Jays.
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Ryu is a Korean baseball legend for what he’s done on the field in both Korea and North America. Having him could be a real advantage in trying to persuade Kim to come to Toronto, as he will have a mentor in Ryu who understands where he is coming from and what he is going through transitioning to the majors. This is something that most other teams won’t have, as there are only four active big league players from Korea, Ji-Man Choi of the Rays, Shin-Soo Choo of the Rangers, Kwang-Hyun Kim of the Cardinals and of course Ryu.
Kim won’t be that big splash move we’re all hoping for, as even though he was a great player in Korea, it’s hard to expect him to continue that in the MLB facing better arms. DJ LeMahieu appears to be the Jays top choice on the infield, but Kim would be a great second option to him as he provides the same positional versatility as LeMahieu, but has more offensive upside then guys like Kolten Wong or Tommy La Stella, which to makes him more appealing than both of them in my opinion.
Bringing in Kim wouldn’t be a huge move, but it would raise this team’s floor as it would give them better depth on the infield and some power and speed in their line up. There will be plenty of suitors for Kim, but having Ryu may be the key to the Blue Jays singing him.