Hanwha’s bold investment in ‘8 years and 17 billion → KBO new history’ is not a waste at all… “What a tremendous value” is also acknowledged!

The Hanwha Eagles signed an eight-year contract with Ryu Hyun-jin for a total of 17 billion won (including opt-outs, which was not disclosed under agreement between the two sides). It is the largest contract in the history of the KBO League, officially announcing the return of the Korean Monster to the KBO League.꽁머니

Ryu Hyun-jin, who wore Hanwha’s uniform as the second overall pick in the second round of the rookie draft in 2006, has been an “overwhelming” since his first season. Ryu Hyun-jin ranked first in all categories of wins (18 wins), ERA (2.23) and strikeouts (204), achieving the “triple crown” from his first season since his debut, and both the Rookie of the Year and MVP titles were down to Ryu Hyun-jin. There was no “second-year jinx” for Ryu Hyun-jin, and Ryu Hyun-jin posted a phenomenal 98-52 record with a 2.80 ERA over seven seasons.

With nearly 100 wins over the seven seasons, Ryu was not complacent, and joined hands with Scott Boras, the devil’s agent, to knock on the door of the big league in the winter of 2012. As a result, he won a six-year, 36-million-dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the time, the Dodgers spent 61.73 million dollars to recruit Ryu, including posting fees. Although Ryu did not play full six seasons, suffering from a torn shoulder joint, he proved that he could play well against players in the big league.

Ryu Hyun-jin garnered 14 wins from his first season when he moved to the Dodgers, and gained 14 wins the following year. In particular, he played in 29 games during the 2019 season, and spent his career high season with 14 wins and five losses and an earned run average of 2.32, ranking first not only in the National League but also in the Major League. And based on this, he made a remarkable move to the FA (Free Agent) market to be evaluated by major league teams.

At the time, Ryu was enthusiastic. Although it was not a jackpot contract worth more than 100 million dollars, Ryu made a fresh start by signing a four-year, 80-million-dollar contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, who were looking for a player to play the role of “Ace” while being a veteran who would take the center stage of his team’s mound. In addition, Ryu took the mound in 12 games in his first season, winning five games and losing two with a 2.69 ERA, and this time he enjoyed the joy of ranking third in the voting at the Cy Young Award in the American League.

However, it was not as solid as it was until the end. Ryu had trouble with his forearm (arm muscle) from the beginning of the 2022 season and will undergo Tommy John surgery. He returned to the mound only in August last year after a year-long rehabilitation. Still, it wasn’t a bad finish. Ryu pitched in 11 games for two months and won three games and lost three games with an ERA of 3.46, helping Toronto take the postseason stage. And once again, he came to the market through his FA qualification.

When Ryu became eligible for the FA, the first expected destination that was mentioned was the Hanwha Eagles. It was because of the “promise” Ryu made in the past when he moved to the Major League. However, while indicating that his promise to return to the Hanwha Eagles is valid, Ryu made staying in the Major League a top priority. In the process, the New York Mets, who were aiming to recruit left-handed pitchers, kept an eye on Ryu, and the San Diego Padres also had a meeting with Ryu.

However, Ryu’s final destination was the friendly Hanwha Eagles, not the big league team. After the 2023 season ended, the Hanwha Eagles constantly kept in touch with Ryu. It was Ryu’s decision to return to the Major League, but the Hanwha Eagles have been making preparations to recruit the Korean Monster anytime if he revealed his intention to return. As a result, they began to communicate with Ryu in detail about a week ago, and officially announced the recruitment on Tuesday.

For now, Ryu has made a new history in the KBO league through this contract. Yang Eui-ji, who returned to the Doosan Bears through the FA, surpassed Kim Kwang-hyun’s four-year contract of 15.1 billion won in total during his return to the SSG Landers from the St. Louis Cardinals. And he also signed an eight-year contract, which is the longest contract ever made in the KBO League. In particular, Hanwha hopes that Ryu will break the KBO league’s oldest record, breaking the records of Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung Lions) and Song Jin-woo, the “finalists.” Even if Ryu declares “opt-out,” chances are high that this period will be filled.

“I wanted to keep him for a long time because he is such a good player,” said Sohn Hyuk, who contacted My Daily on Tuesday. “Oh Seung-hwan signed a two-year contract this year, which coincides with Ryu’s sixth to seventh years when the contract ends. And if he runs for one to two more years, he can surpass Song Jin-woo’s record. “He is already an iconic pitcher, but I wish Hanwha had an eternal symbolic pitcher in Korea,” he said, explaining why he signed an eight-year contract.

Hanwha was busy strengthening its power before recruiting Ryu Hyun-jin. Hanwha recruited An Chi-hong for a total of 7.2 billion won for 4+2 years in the FA market, and in the second draft, Kim Kang-min and Lee Jae-won, who hoped to release themselves from SSG Landers, added veteran resources to thicken the depth. With Ryu Hyun-jin added to this, Hanwha is now equipped to look beyond the top five. The return of Ryu Hyun-jin, who maintained competitiveness in the big leagues, has great implications. The KBO league game has changed.

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