The Blue Jays made a significant addition to their starting rotation on Sunday night, signing veteran lefty free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year, $80 million contract, Jon Heyman reports. Per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, the contract includes a full no-trade clause.
Ryu, 32, led all qualified starters in baseball last season with a 2.32 ERA, finishing second in NL Cy Young Award balloting. He also went 14-5 with 163 strikeouts and 24 walks over 182 2/3 innings of work. Though he has had trouble staying healthy over the course of his seven-year major league career, Ryu holds a 2.98 career ERA spanning 740 1/3 innings.
Ryu is the most significant addition the Blue Jays have made this offseason. He is one of three newcomers to the rotation, joining Chase Anderson and Tanner Roark. While the Jays had a disappointing 67-95 record this past season, they are putting in some effort to return to relevancy in the AL East.
Nightengale notes that Scott Boras, Ryu’s agent, has crossed $1 billion in total value of contracts signed by his clients this offseason. Boras’ other clients include Gerrit Cole (nine years, $324 million), Stephen Strasburg (seven years, $245 million), Anthony Rendon (seven years, $245 million), Mike Moustakas (four years, $64 million), and Dallas Keuchel (three years, $55.5 million).
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.