3 former Blue Jays we’ll be glad are gone in 2024 and 2 we’ll wish stayed

Which former Jays players will we missed the most, and which we shouldn’t worry too much having left the team for 2024?

Matt Chapman and Brandon Belt
Matt Chapman and Brandon Belt / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Hyun Jin Ryu

Hyun Jin Ryu needs to be commended for his valiant effort in stepping in to provide quality starts down the stretch last year. Especially when you take into consideration the fact that he was coming off a year-long layoff due to Tommy John surgery. In 11 starts, the left-hander amassed a 3-3 record with a solid 3.46 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, giving up 20 earned runs along with 14 walks and 38 strikeouts in 52 innings pitched. He helped stabilize the Jays’ back end of the rotation and provided enough length in the final two months to get the team into the playoffs.

So for someone that played a key role in helping the Jays in 2023, along with once being the ace of the pitching staff in 2020, why should we be glad that he won’t be with the team in 2024? Well outside of his Cy Young-calibre performance in his first year with the club and his heroics at the end of the season last year, Ryu’s tenure had been rocky at best in much of his other years with the team. His inconsistencies flared up during the 2021 and 2022 seasons when he sported ERAs over 4 and 5, respectively, despite a winning record. More importantly, he was getting hit hard by the long ball, with his HR/9 averaging close to 1.5 the past three years when he was averaging close to just below 1 throughout his career. For a pitcher that is almost 37 that focuses mainly on finesse pitching, that is certainly a worrisome stat as Father Time catches up to him.

On top of that, Ryu recently signed a huge eight-year contract to go back to Korea and pitch for the Hanwha Eagles in the KBO league. The deal would take him all the way into his mid-40s. Given his recent injury history and decline in dominance in recent years, the Jays cannot afford to give him a multi-year contract, even if the term is considerably shorter than the one he got with the Eagles, and expect it to age well. So despite the tremendous impact Ryu had on his teammates and the organization as a whole, it was of the Jays’ best interest to move on from him to give the team the best chances at winning this season and in the long run.