Hyun Jin Ryu has had a tumultuous almost-four year run with the Toronto Blue Jays thus far.
Ryu signed a four-year, $80M contract with the Blue Jays as a free agent in December of 2019. Ryu was coming off a season where he finished second in NL Cy Young voting and led the major leagues in ERA, so this signing was a clear indication of the direction the ball club was heading in -- one with a desire to field a competitive team. And compete, they did. The Blue Jays ended up making the postseason that year as a Wild Card team, thanks in part to Ryu's impressive campaign. This was the teams first postseason appearance since 2016.
Ryu's first season with the club couldn't have gone much better for him. The left-hander pitched to a 2.69 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and held opponents to a batting average of .234 over 67 innings pitched in a COVID-shortened season. He was also an AL Cy-Young finalist this year, where he would end up finishing in 3rd.
After an impressive first season with his new ballclub, albeit a small sample size with a shortened season, Ryu struggled slightly in his second season in Toronto. After being the teams irrefutable ace in 2020, this was not the case in 2021 with Robbie Ray now on board. It was Ray who would have a career year this time, winning the AL Cy-Young award while Ryu struggled. His ERA ballooned to 4.37 and he had a huge problem keeping the ball in the ballpark, giving up a career worst 24 homeruns.
In 2022, things got even worse for the Blue Jays lefty. Ryu would struggle mightily last season over six starts with a 5.67 ERA before ultimately opting to undergo Tommy John Surgery in June of last year. With a standard recovery time of 12-18 months, it was entirely possible Ryu would never pitch for the Blue Jays again.
This would not be the case though, as Ryu would ultimately recover from the surgery and would make his return to the Blue Jays 426 days after his last time on an MLB mound. Since returning, Ryu has been magnificent. He's started 5 games thus far with a 3-1 record, 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and ERA+ of 192.
With a few question marks in the rotation next season, most glaringly obvious being Alek Manoah, Ryu's strong play so far this season has made the idea of re-signing him a genuine possibility now.