The Toronto Blue Jays rotation just took a hit, as it was announced via Scott Mitchell at TSN that the left-hander is set to undergo elbow surgery in the near future. General Manager Ross Atkins reportedly informed reporters earlier today that the South Korean product is set to go under the knife for what potentially could be Tommy John surgery, as it is not yet known at this time the extent of the damage in his elbow and whether it is a fully torn or just a partial tear.
One of the first high-tier free-agent signings since Ross Atkins took office back in late 2015, Ryu joined the Blue Jays during the 2019/2020 offseason on a four-year, $80 million contract. The southpaw pitched well his first campaign, owning a 2.69 ERA through 12 starts during the shortened season and ended up a finalist for the Cy Young award that year. Last season was a struggle for Ryu, as he authored a 4.37 ERA through 31 starts and 169.0 innings, but was unable to find any sort of rhythm on the mound while also missing a few starts due to various short-term injuries.
This unfortunate trend followed Ryu into 2022, as the former Dodgers starter ended up on the IL with forearm tightness after two just starts into the campaign, both of which saw the veteran struggle to keep runs off the board. While he did return on May 14th and had four solid outings afterwards, allowing just six earned runs through 19.2 innings, Ryu once again was placed on the IL with forearm/elbow issues and it appears that the damage was enough that surgery is required for recovery.
This is super unfortunate for Ryu, as he was starting to pitch well after his first IL stint and looked to be going deeper into ballgames as well as keeping runs off the board. We will have to wait and see after the surgery how extensive the damage is, considering full Tommy John surgery might put him on the shelf for this season and maybe all of next season as well before he hits free agency.
It will also be interesting to see if the Blue Jays plan to explore the trade market for another starter or if the club wants to run with an internal option like Ross Stripling to finish out the campaign.