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MLB Roundup 12/24: Blue Jays sign Hyun-Jin Ryu

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Toronto making moves

Divisional Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals - Game Three Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Blue Jays sign Hyun-Jin Ryu

Well, the Blue Jays found the pitcher they were looking for. Toronto, not normally a big player on the free agent market, agreed to terms with Hyun-Jin Ryu on a four-year deal worth $80 million. This is a huge deal for the Blue Jays, who have one of the more promising young groups of position players in the league but need the pitching to pair with it. Ryu isn’t someone who doesn’t come with his risks, as he is entering his age-33 season and has a fairly extensive injury history. He’s started 30 games only once and that was back in 2013, his first year in the majors. That said, when he’s been on the mound he’s been fantastic, particularly last year. He finished second in the Cy Young voting in 2019 with a 2.32 ERA. In fact, over the last two seasons only Jacob deGrom has a better park-adjusted ERA than Ryu. The AL East is certainly a different animal than the NL West, but it’s hard to spin this as anything but a positive for the Blue Jays as they start to push towards contention.

Sox Spin: Earlier in the day on Sunday there had been rumors swirling that Toronto would be interested in a David Price trade. They still may be — their rotation isn’t exactly complete even with Ryu — but in hindsight it looks like a negotiation tactic to land Ryu. That said, this signing takes all of the big pitchers off the free agent board, leaving teams like the Angels, Dodgers, Padres and Twins now needing to turn to the trade market. A Price trade could be coming sooner than later at this point.

Blue Jays sign Travis Shaw

Toronto ended their day by signing Ryu, which will overshadow anything else they do, but they also added an old friend in the process. Toronto inked Travis Shaw to a one-year deal on Sunday worth $4 million. The Blue Jays lost Justin Smoak in free agency to the Brewers, and now they’ll replace him with the former Milwaukee corner infield. Shaw, of course, thrived with the Brewers after first being traded there in the Tyler Thornburg deal, but he struggled mightily last year. That was enough to be non-tendered, and by all accounts Shaw was looking to move on for a change of scenery. This is a nice, buy-low addition for a team on the rise, though I’m not 100 percent convinced Shaw just had a down year last year. For $4 million, however, it’s worth the risk.

Sox Spin: The Red Sox were reportedly in on Shaw until the very end, which indicates they probably are looking for a left-handed first baseman to pair with Michael Chavis. Eric Thames remains available on that front.