Pittsburgh Pirates Free Agent Target: Veteran Lefty Could Make Sense on a One-Year Deal

This veteran lefty could be a match with the Pirates in free agency
Sep 23, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu (99)
Sep 23, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu (99) / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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Veteran lefty Hyun Jin Ryu could be a free agent match with the Pittsburgh Pirates if he's looking for a one-year deal to help re-establish his value

General manager Ben Cherington will need to address the starting rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason. In fact, Cherington has even said as much already stating that starting pitching will be a focus this offseason.

Adding controllable starting pitching via trade could be a route the Pirates go. They could also look to add proven veterans via multi-year deals in free agency. There are also one-year deals that the Pirates always seem to love with either veterans looking to re-establish their value or veterans toward the end of their careers.

Regardless of how they do it, the Pirates need to add multiple starting pitchers this offseason. Due to this, odds are, the Pirates will sign at least one veteran starting pitcher to a one-year deal in free agency this offseason. Assuming they do indeed go this route, veteran lefty Hyun Jin Ryu could be a match with the Pirates in free agency.

The 36-year-old Ryu is now a free agent after completing a four-year, $80 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Unfortunately, due to injury, this contract was a bit of a letdown for Ryu and the Blue Jays.

Ryu made just 6 starts in 2022 before undergoing Tommy John surgery, a surgery that would limit him to just 11 starts in 2023. Additionally, his first season with the Blue Jays was 2020, a season that saw Ryu make just 12 starts due to the COVID shortened season.

Ryu's MLB career began with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. Ryu missed all of 2015 and made just one start in 2016 due to back, shoulder, and elbow issues. Overall, Ryu has made 186 MLB appearances (185 starts), posting a 3.27 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 5.4% walk rate, and a 21.5% strikeout rate in 1055.1 innings pitched.

Adding Ryu to the Pirate roster would benefit the team in multiple ways. Most importantly, he would improve the Pirate starting rotation. In addition to that, he would be a strong, quality veteran presence and potential leader for the Pirate starting rotation.

There are a lot of reasons why Ryu would be a fit with the Pirates, even if it is just on a one-year deal in an effort to re-establish his value. Ryu is a starting pitcher that the Pirates should be pursuing in free agency.

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