With the return of Ryu Hyun-jin (36) just over a month away, the Canadian media is calling for the Toronto Blue Jays to bolster their starting rotation. The list of possible candidates includes a name that Korean fans may recognise.
“We don’t know if Alex Manoa or Hyun-jin Ryu will be able to pitch well when they return,” Canada’s Sportsnet wrote on the 13th (KST), “so Toronto is better off looking for a starting pitcher.”
They don’t need a Ryu or Manoa calibre player, but someone who can rotate in the starting rotation.
“They don’t need a signature pitcher, but they do need a resource to tide them over until Ryu is ready,” the outlet said.
Ryu has been rehabbing for the past year after undergoing ligament splicing surgery on his left elbow in June last year. He is on track to return to the big leagues after a series of bullpen pitches last month, including live pitches to set up hitters and minor league appearances. The initial plan is for him to return around the end of the seventh inning, which could be early August to be generous.
Manoa has been a fixture in the starting rotation since making his debut in 2021. In 31 games last year, he went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in 196⅔ innings. He even finished third in the American League Cy Young Award voting.
The problem is this year. He went downhill. In 13 games and 58 innings, he went 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA. Eventually, the team sent Manoa down to the Rookie League. No one knows when he will return.
So, without Ryu and Manoah, Toronto’s starting rotation will have a tough time until July. That’s where the need for starting pitching reinforcements comes in.
Sportsnet has a list of possible candidates to fill the gap in Toronto’s starting rotation. Former Samsung pitcher Ben Lively (31-Cincinnati) was one of them.
Lively is well known to Korean fans, having pitched for Samsung from 2019 to 2021. This year, after signing with Cincinnati, he was called up and took the mound for the first time since 2019. In seven games (five starts), he is 3-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 36 1/3 innings.
“Lively could cost more than the other candidates, considering he has more than a year before his salary adjustment. “Cincinnati doesn’t have to stick with a pitcher in his late 30s in the rotation, which is a good thing for the Reds.”
“He has a slow sinker that averages 91.6 miles per hour, but he has an extension that helps mitigate that issue. He also throws six different pitches, which is a change from the three he had before heading to Korea.” 메이저놀이터
The good reviews continued. “Lively still has (minor league) options and has been relatively good this season. He’s a pitcher who throws strikes wherever he goes,” and “Toronto could use him as needed in 2023 and send him to Triple-A for insurance.”