Toronto’s starting rotation has changed from when Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, first donned a Toronto uniform. None of the players who rotated with Ryu in the first game of the 2020 season remain. Instead, players from outside the organization have filled the void.
And they spent a lot of money in the process. The batting lineup was rebuilt, so the plan was to buy and use starters, but it didn’t work out. Every pitcher has been up and down. It was widely considered to be the best starting rotation in the American League East, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would say that about Toronto’s starting rotation right now.
Hence the trade rumors. The gist of the rumors was that the Jays were looking to add another solid pitcher to anchor their starting rotation.
In mid-July, Toronto general manager Ross Atkins played down the rumors, saying, “Every team in contention is trying to add some depth to their starting rotation.” The market was competitive. The implication was that the competition is fierce. It was obvious that to win that race, you had to put more cards on the table. That’s why Toronto didn’t jump into the trade market right away.
On the one hand, Atkins had faith. They had a rotation of basically good players. There was reason to hope for a rebound. Alec Manoa, who was completely off-balance and spent time in a minor league facility, was getting better.
Add to that the return of Ryu Hyun-jin, who underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow ligaments last June and rehabbed for more than a year. In fact, this was the most important thing.
Atkins has been following Ryu’s rehabilitation closely since last winter. He reportedly received frequent briefings, and whenever he could find time in his busy schedule, he checked in person and asked the trainers for their opinions. Once Atkins was satisfied that Ryu’s rehab was going well, he decided to maximize his utility by going with a six-man rotation for the 17-game series. 메이저사이트
Rather than trading a starting pitcher, he focused on strengthening the bullpen, which was unstable except for Jordan Romano, and on the 31st (KST), he acquired Jordan Hicks, a hard-throwing closer from St. Louis.
On the 31st, CBC, a leading Canadian media outlet, reported, “Toronto is set to welcome back Hyun-jin Ryu, who underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. It will provide a solid boost to the starting rotation,” and “It makes the job of Toronto general manager Ross Atkins easier.
Seeing the potential in Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed Atkins to focus on other areas of the organization once the starters were out of the way, which is what led to Hicks’ signing. Toronto’s trade was not over yet. The Jays are also looking to bolster their offense, Atkins said, and are looking for ways to address their right-handed bat skew.
Atkins’ plan may have been wise. Ryu is back and healthy. Ryu, who is scheduled to return to action on April 2 against Baltimore, threw a final bullpen session before his 30-day DL stint. With manager John Schneider and pitching coach Pete Walker in attendance, Schneider gave him a thumbs-up, saying, “The location was spot-on, as it always is.”
Ryu doesn’t have the fastest velocity at the major league level. His fastball averages around 90 miles per hour (145 km/h). But he doesn’t live and die by his fastball. His success has always been based on his location and his command, which allows him to throw any pitch on any pitch. Schneider has seen that ability carry over. As long as it stays that way, he believes Ryu can help the team. Now it’s up to Ryu to show it on the mound.