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Report: Former Jays' pitcher Ryu to return to KBO

Hyun Jin Ryu Toronto Blue Jays Hyun Jin Ryu - The Canadian Press

Hyun-Jin Ryu is returning to the Korea Baseball Organization.

According to Jeeho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency in Seoul, Ryu will re-join the Hanwha Eagles and become the highest-paid pitcher in the KBO.

Ryu last pitched for the team from 2006 to 2012 and won MVP and Rookie of the Year honours in 2006. He was ranked at No. 47 on TSN's Top 50 MLB free agents feature from November. 

The 36-year-old left-hander spent the last four seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays after signing a four-year, $80 million deal following the 2019 season. He missed most of 2022 and 2023 after having Tommy John surgery, but was impressive after returning last season on Aug. 1, pitching to a 3.46 ERA in 11 starts. 

Ryu's best season as a Jay came in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when he was instrumental in helping the team return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Ryu posted a 2.69 ERA and finished third in American League Cy Young voting and 13th in MVP voting. 

He made 31 starts the year after and had an up and down 2021 campaign, pitching to a 4.37 ERA before making just 17 starts combined over his next two seasons.

Prior to his time in Toronto, Ryu pitched six seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning the National League ERA title in 2019 (2.32) and making the All-Star Team for the only time that season.

All in all, Ryu owns an MLB ERA of 3.27 spread out over 10 big league seasons.