Pittsburgh Pirates: Four Remaining Free Agents To Consider

The Pirates should consider going after these four free agents.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Dodgers
Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Dodgers / Rob Leiter/GettyImages
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Hyun Jin Ryu

Hyun Jin Ryu is a former two-time Cy Young finalist, but it’s been a few years since Ryu has been a CYA-caliber starting pitcher. He missed most of 2022 and the first four months of the 2023 campaign. But he returned in August, and despite missing over a whole year, the veteran lefty ended the season on a positive note.

He pitched 52 innings, working to a 3.46 ERA, 4.91 FIP, and 1.29 WHIP. Ryu has never been a big strikeout pitcher, but his 17% strikeout rate is the lowest he’s posted in any season where he started at least ten games. On the plus side, he had an outstanding 6.3% walk rate, leading to an above-average 2.71 K:BB ratio. Ryu’s 1.56 HR/9 is high, but he was above average in exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and barrel rate and had a 16.4% HR/FB ratio, which was over 4% higher than his career average.

For what it’s worth, Ryu had better ERA estimators than Clevinger. Ryu had a 4.41 xFIP, 4.69 SIERA, and a 113 DRA-. Ryu also had a similar exit velo (87.8 MPH), hard-hit rate (36.8%), and barrel rate (7.6%) to Clevinger. Of course, Ryu pitched 79.1 fewer innings than Clevinger did. The sample size between the two makes it difficult to compare directly. But I still think it’s at least worth mentioning.

Ryu feels like someone the Pirates would have an interest in. He’s a soft-tossing veteran lefty who is looking to rebound after pitching less than 100 innings over the last two years combined. That screams Ben Cherington. Ryu will likely command a one-year deal. 2024 will be his age-37 and season, and given that his most recent seasons have been injury-shortened, he probably will be less than $10 million.