MLB Rumors: Cody Bellinger backup plan, Francisco Alvarez extension, Ryu leaves MLB

  • The Chicago Cubs might have a backup plan if they lose Cody Bellinger.
  • Are the New York Mets closing in on a Francisco Alvarez extension?
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu is heading back to Korea.

Chicago Cubs v New York Mets
Chicago Cubs v New York Mets / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: Hyun-Jin Ryu is heading back to the KBO

The Hanwha Eagles of the KBO have signed Hyun-Jin Ryu to the richest contract in league history, thus convincing the former Blue Jays starting pitcher to end his career in Korea. It was always likely that Ryu ended up back in the KBO in the twilight of his career. However, it is a bit of a surprise it happened this soon.

Ryu has struggled to stay healthy the last few years. He made just 11 starts in 2023 and six in 2022. Last season, he had a 3.46 ERA in those 11 appearances. Ryu's best chance at landing an MLB deal this offseason was always going to be on a prove-it deal. The market has been ice cold all winter long, even for buy-low candidates like Ryu. Eventually, he just got tired of waiting.

At just 19 years old, Ryu debuted in the KBO and won the league's MVP award as a rookie. Over a seven-year run with the Eagles, Ryu had a 2.80 ERA. Korea's blind posting process left MLB general managers wondering where Ryu would win the rights to Ryu up until the last minute. The Los Angeles Dodgers eventually signed Ryu to a contract with a bid of around $25 million.

Ryu had an excellent MLB career, giving up just 3.27 earned runs per nine in 186 appearances, per MLB Trade Rumors. He was also a two-time Cy Young finalist, and one of the greatest success stories in the KBO-to-MLB pipeline. Now, he gets to return home a hero.