Saying good-bye to another old friend

I always expected Ryu to resign with the Dodgers so the news that Ryu signed with Toronto was a big surprise for me and it means that for the second year in a row one of my favorite Dodgers will not be wearing the Dodger blue as we head into the next season.

I don’t know if the Dodgers did the right thing or not, for all the words being written about the Dodgers being cheap we simply won’t know until time tells us the answer.  Four years is a long time for a 33 to 36-year-old pitcher with his health history, but I do know that I’m going to miss Ryu.

TrueBlueLA used to do a thing called your favorite five Dodgers. It was always interesting to see the results of this informal poll because most of the time it wasn’t the five best Dodgers, for whatever reason, it was the personal connection that these players had made with the fans.

I expect that headed into the winter of 2018, Yasiel Puig would have been on many a Dodger fans list of Favorite Five, and that Ryu would have been on the same list headed into Oct 2019.

Both Puig and Ryu started their Dodger careers in 2013, and in baseball terms, they had a long run for the same team but I wasn’t really ready to say good-bye to either player. The Dodgers moved Puig and shed some salary while collecting some solid future assets in Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.  Ryu was simply allowed to leave after almost winning the CYA in 2019. He signed for 4/80 for a team that I would not have expected him to sign for. The BlueJays are probably the 3rd or 4th best team in the AL East but they do have the sons of two HOF, along with a Bichette so they will be a fun team to watch and root for.

We all know that Ryu had an up and down Dodger career with his health always defining how effective he was going to be but no one expected him to be one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2019 and do it while throwing 182 innings.   When he wasn’t one of the best pitchers in baseball, Ryu was always fun to watch as a Dodger.

As far as Ryu and his Dodger legacy go, for pitchers with at least 500 IP, Ryu put up the 6th best ERA+ in Los Angeles Dodger history. That is quite the accomplishment when you consider the number of great pitchers who have pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Player             ERA+     IP From   To   Age  GS  FIP
Clayton Kershaw     157 2274.2 2008 2019 20-31 344 2.74
Zack Greinke        156  602.2 2013 2015 29-31  92 2.97
Kevin Brown         147  872.2 1999 2003 34-38 129 3.16
Sandy Koufax        135 2119.2 1958 1966 22-30 286 2.57
Andy Messersmith    129  926.0 1973 1979 27-33 123 3.34
Hyun-Jin Ryu        129  740.1 2013 2019 26-32 125 3.32
Derek Lowe          120  850.1 2005 2008 32-35 135 3.77

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/23/2019.

Higher career LAD ERA+ than notable pitchers such as Don Drysdale, Orel Hershiser, Don Sutton, Bob Welch, Jerry Reuss, Burt Hooton, Bill Singer, Tommy John, Ismael Valdez, Hideo Nomo, and Hiroki Kuroda.

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