The Toronto Blue Jays have spent big the last couple of offseasons, signing guys like Hyun-Jin Ryu, George Springer, and Kevin Gausman in each of the last three winters. They’ve also made other big moves like the Yusei Kikuchi signing, and the Matt Chapman+Jose Berrios trades and extensions.
When teams spend big as the Jays have, there are bound to be some good signings and some bad. The Kevin Gausman deal has aged very well in year one. The Jose Berrios extension, not looking great so far.
In a division that includes the Yankees and Red Sox there figure to be a lot of bad contracts. Here are the ten worst in the American League East.
10. Hyun-Jin Ryu
Prior to the 2020 season, the Blue Jays signed Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year $80 million dollar deal. On the surface, this seemed like a slight overpay given Ryu’s injury history, but if he came to Toronto and pitched well, it wouldn’t really matter.
In the shortened 2020 season, Ryu gave the Jays everything they could have wanted. He stayed healthy and finished third in the AL Cy Young balloting, leading the Jays to an unlikely playoff berth albeit with an expanded playoff.
Ryu was not great in 2021, but he made 31 starts, which was huge for a Blue Jays team trying to fight for a playoff spot.
Unfortunately for Ryu and the Blue Jays, the final two years of his contract have been and will be a disaster. Ryu made just six starts this season and pitched poorly. His season was over in June as he needed surgery on his elbow. This will most likely make him miss the entirety of the 2023 season as well.
Ryu is set to make $20 million dollars next season and is unlikely to make any starts. The only season he was really good for Toronto was a shortened season that saw him only make 12 starts.
I do believe that the Ryu deal was still worth it for the Jays, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a bad contract at this stage. Even though there’s only one year left, for Ryu to not throw an inning next season while cashing in $20 million dollars is a tough pill to swallow.