Free agent pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to an $80 million, four-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The person spoke late Sunday night on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a physical after Christmas and had not been announced.
Ryu was 14-5 with a major league-best 2.32 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. The 32-year-old left-hander from South Korea started for the National League in his first All-Star appearance and finished second in Cy Young Award voting to New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom.
He receives a $20 million salary each of the next four years, with no signing bonus.
Ryu’s deal raised agent Scott Boras’ total to more than a billion dollars in guaranteed contracts – $1,016,500,000 to be exact – for seven players since the start of November, deals extending as many as nine seasons. He previously negotiated agreements for pitchers Gerrit Cole ($324 million), Stephen Strasburg ($245 million), Dallas Keuchel ($55.5 million) and Tony Watson ($3 million); third baseman Anthony Rendon ($245 million) and infielder Mike Moustakas ($64 million).
Toronto is rebuilding around a promising young core of hitters who broke into the big leagues last season, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio. Looking to surround them with some proven pitching, the Blue Jays are set to add Ryu and right-hander Tanner Roark to their rotation.
Roark recently agreed to a $24 million, two-year deal with Toronto, which finished fourth in the AL East at 67-95 last season.
The moves follow Toronto home attendance declining from nearly 3.4 million in 2016, when the Blue Jays lost in the AL Championship Series for the second straight year, to 1.75 million last season – Toronto’s lowest since 2010.
Ryu, who turns 33 in March, spent his first seven years in the majors with the Dodgers. He missed the 2015 season and made only one appearance in 2016 due to injury. But he re-emerged with a 1.97 ERA over 15 starts in 2018 and threw 182 2/3 innings in 29 starts this year for the NL West champions.
AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this report.
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