Toronto Blue Jays need to push for Hyun-Jin Ryu after signing Shun Yamaguchi

Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Miami Marlins during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Miami Marlins during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly agreed to a deal with Shun Yamaguchi for some much-needed pitching depth but should continue to push for Hyun-Jin Ry.

It appears the Toronto Blue Jays search for pitching options has gone overseas to Japan as the team reportedly signed Shun Yamaguchi as Sankei Sports says it’s a two-year deal. 

This is an interesting development considering there weren’t a lot of rumours connecting the Blue Jays to Yamaguchi considering all the talk surrounding Hyun-Jin Ryu. While the 32-year-old led the Japan Central League in strikeouts last season, there are questions as to whether the team expects him to join the rotation or come out of the bullpen.

Given the team’s recent moves the fact still remains that Ryu still needs to be the team’s priority to sign. The problem is that the longer Ryu remains on the market the tougher it will be to get him to sign.

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The Blue Jays’ front office has taken a lot of heat this off-season for their underwhelming moves and saying the team has been aggressive when it comes to their pursuit of free agents. This has nothing to do with the big names like Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg or even Zack Wheeler because those are deals that don’t meet the mould of this front office.

Instead, they have a chance to get a free agent that is coveted by other teams and fits a clear need the organization is trying to fill but it’s unclear whether they will go the lengths necessary to get the deal done.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Ryu is looking to get a contract with a larger annual value than the $17 million a season Madison Bumgarner got from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Considering the lack of pitching options on the market, Ryu should be trying to get as much as he can especially if teams aren’t willing to get term with it.

They could have tried to make a push for Corey Kluber considering the Texas Rangers didn’t have to pay a king’s ransom to get a deal done for one the game’s more dominant pitchers despite the injury he suffered last season.

As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet writes, Toronto will have to look at pitchers like Ryu, Dallas Keuchel, Julio Teheran and Gio Gonzalez and hope that they can interest them in signing. As we have found out so far, that task is proving to get tougher and tougher and it will get tougher and tougher to sell Blue Jays fans on the team’s plan to win.

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What are your thoughts on the Blue Jays’ recent moves? How much of a priority should it be to sign a player like Ryu? Let us know in the comments below.