MLB free agency: Pros, cons for Giants signing pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu

Dalton Johnson

The Giants have their new general manager in Scott Harris, and are expected to announce their next manager this week. Their next move will be reshaping the roster.

San Francisco refuses to use the word "rebuild," often leaning on a "reload" instead. Harris, who was an essential part to the Cubs becoming contenders again, said at his introductory press conference Monday that the Giants' goal is to soon be competitive again after three straight losing seasons. 

But how soon? The Giants' farm system is on the rise, and they have seen the effects of having an aging roster the past few seasons. In free agency, however, they could hold onto their top prospects while also adding proven talent. 

One free agent that's Mark Feinsand recently pegged to the Giants is a name president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is well familiar with. Should the Giants pursue Dodgers free-agent pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu? 

Here's why the Giants should and shouldn't look to sign the veteran left-hander. 


Ryu's last two seasons are right up there with the best arms in baseball, including his teammate Clayton Kershaw and Astros stars Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, who is seen as the biggest name on the free-agent market this offseason. The veteran lefty is 21-8 with a 2.21 ERA and 1.01 WHIP the past two years.

He led all of the majors this past season with a 2.32 ERA, and his 179 ERA+ was the best in the NL. Ryu also has pin-point control and led the bigs with just 1.2 walks per nine innings. 

With longtime Giants ace Madison Bumgarner a free agent this offseason, the Giants currently are without a single left-handed pitcher in their starting rotation. Barring a trade, veteran right-handers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija should headline the rotation, with Tyler Beede, Logan Webb and Dereck Rodriguez all as possible options. 

Ryu would be another proven veteran in the Giants' rotation, and give them a needed lefty. He also likely won't break the bank. MLB Trade Rumors predicts Ryu will sign a three-year, $54 million contract.


While Ryu has been one of the best pitchers in baseball the last two years, 2019 also was his first time pitching at least 180 innings since 2013 when he tossed 192 as a 26-year-old rookie. 

Ryu has undergone shoulder and elbow surgeries and missed nearly all of 2015 and 2016. He pitched just 4 2/3 innings in 2016 after missing the entire 2015 season. Last season, however, he proved how dominant he can be when healthy. 

The 2019 NL All-Star is on the wrong side of 30, too. Ryu will turn 33 years old in late March, and how he ages with past arm issues could be a concern. 

San Francisco was aggressive in pushing Webb, 22, to the big leagues last season. They could have the same mindset with Sean Hjelle (23 in May) and Tristan Beck (24 in June). The Giants need to know what they have in their young arms, and paying a veteran like Ryu could get in the way. 

[RELATED: Analysts predict MadBum signs with Braves in free agency]

Zaidi knows Ryu well from his time as the Dodgers GM. Does he believe the lefty is the missing ingredient in San Francisco or will the Giants go a different route? 

It shouldn't take long for us to know now that Zaidi has his partner in Harris.

MLB free agency: Pros, cons for Giants signing pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area