It kinda felt like this was inevitable, and it’s looking more and more likely. Hyun-jin Ryu is set to undergo shoulder surgery this week and will miss the 2015 season, reports two Korean news outlets.
It isn’t official, but it seems Ryu’s agent confirmed the report to Sports Hankook.
— Dan Kurtz (@MyKBO) May 19, 2015
Jeff Passan chimes in.
Source: Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu considering surgery on shoulder. Korean report says happening this week. Source says still not determined.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 19, 2015
Either way, that’s not good. I said on this week’s podcast I didn’t have a good feeling about this situation, and I’m bummed it seemingly will come to fruition.
“If there’s any silver lining in these game logs, it’s that Ryu returned for three good starts at the end of the season. His ERA in the 22-2/3 post-injury innings was 1.99 (compared to 3.73 in 101-1/3 pre-injury innings), but his K/9 rate dropped from 9.68 pre-injury to 7.15 post-injury. Unfortunately, we don’t know what happened to his velocity. The post-injury sample is small, but at least he didn’t unravel.
The shoulder injury Ryu experienced in 2011 hasn’t really impacted him long-term, as we have been lucky enough to see so far. But, unfortunately, the impact wasn’t as minor as previously stated.”
This seems like a completely different kind of injury, as this is the first shoulder procedure he will undergo. For all the fanfare (for lack of a better term) Tommy John surgery receives, shoulder operations are much more serious and frightening. His velocity was reported at 82-83 MPH last week when he had a setback in his rehab. Now, it seems we know why.
And there’s this from Mike:
Ryu needed 750 IP from 2013-17 to opt out after 2017 and void $7m 2018. If he's out for the year, he'll be at 344 IP from 2013-15.
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) May 19, 2015
So, he’d need to pitch an average of 203 innings in 2016 and 2017 for him to opt out. Considering his career-best is 192 innings and he’ll be coming off shoulder surgery, I’d be shocked if that happened. That means the Dodgers are getting him for all six years of his deal. And despite missing the 2015 season, he has still been plenty valuable and underrated.
Ryu’s last start for the Dodgers was in Game 3 of the National League Division Series, when he pitched really well. He sat at nearly 93.1 MPH with his fastball and his off-speed stuff was working. Considering he hadn’t pitched in the 22 days prior, it was impressive. Sadly, that image of him will be the last one until sometime in 2016 (hopefully).
With the Dodgers already missing Brandon McCarthy after Tommy John surgery for the rest of the season and probably half of next season and the revolving doors that are the No. 4 and 5 starters, it seems they’re going to need to add a starting pitcher from outside the organization if they want to go deep into October. While I still don’t think it happens until July, the Dodgers will definitely be on the prowl for a starter. Some names to watch are Johnny Cueto (not until after the All-Star break), Yovani Gallardo (no thanks), Cole Hamels (asking price has to come down, Ruben), Scott Kazmir (Billy Beane could trade him at anytime) and Jeff Samardzija (despite White Sox’s recent hot streak). There will be more names to surface as we get closer to July 31.
For now, the Dodgers will continue to roll with the five guys in the rotation at present. Clayton Kershaw isn’t struggling as much as some would have you believe. Zack Greinke is pitching pretty well. Brett Anderson seems to have gotten on track but is due to break down at some point. Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger have been really solid in limited time. Brandon Beachy just became incredibly valuable, provided he can get back to the level he was at in 2011 (four seasons ago!). There Joe Wieland and Zach Lee are still on the farm and … nah, I’m not going there (Julio Urias) … yet.
I will say: It’s rather good timing that the Dodgers announced yesterday Urias is having cosmetic surgery for his eye and will miss a month (i.e. rest) and this news comes out about Ryu today. Draw your own conclusions.
If only this was the actual news …
Relax, everybody. I'm sure the announcement is about Ryu's latest noodle commercial
— Sons of Steve Garvey (@sosgsosg) May 19, 2015
… because that would be fun. This is not.