‘FA Ryu Hyun-jin’s difficult problem’ 1-year contract vs. Multi-year contract, Boras strategy 5 years ago was a huge success…
Amid predictions that Toronto Blue Jays Ryu Hyun-jin could be offered a fairly generous multi-year contract in the free agent market after this season, attention is also being drawn to the strategy that agent Scott Boras will devise.스포츠토토
On the 8th (Korean time), MLB.com said in an article titled ‘9 prospective free agents who need to finish 2023 with good results’, ‘Ryu Hyun-jin is unlikely to sign a 4-year, $80 million contract like last time. “It’s difficult,” he predicted, “but if we maintain a stable pace like now, a fairly generous multi-year contract (lucrative multiyear pact) will likely be possible.”
MLB.com mentioned Ryu Hyun-jin as the 7th among the 9 players. Even if it is not the meaning of the free agent rankings evaluated by influential media every off-season, being included in the ‘Top 9’ itself can be taken to mean that he is a candidate who can receive a lot of demand, or love calls.
A multi-year contract literally means a contract of more than two years. MLB.com believes that Ryu Hyun-jin can stay in the major league for at least two more years.
Ryu Hyun-jin took the mound against the Colorado Rockies on the 2nd (Korean time). AP Yonhap News
So, how can Boras, a ‘negotiation genius’ and ‘free agent strategist’, package the ‘product Ryu Hyun-jin’ and sell it for how much?
Boras considers his performance and scarcity just before free agency to be an important bargaining chip. He believes that he needs to stay healthy for at least one season and appeal to his unique strengths to get the money he wants.
Take Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger, another Boras client.
In an interview with USA Today on the 28th of last month, Boras said, “Demand is always created from scarcity. A five-tool player (like Cody) with a high level of skill at a young age can hit, run, and power bat as a Gold Glove-level center fielder and first baseman. “If you do that, you are a rare commodity in the major leagues,” he said. “The demand for such players is very, very high.”
As is well known, Bellinger appeared on the free agent market as if he was kicked out of the Los Angeles Dodgers last winter. The Dodgers released him after suffering from injuries and poor performance for three years after winning the NL MVP in 2019, and Boras is said to have mainly negotiated a one-year contract in the free agent market. There were some clubs that offered a guarantee of more than two years, but they went with the Cubs, who offered ‘1+1 year’ including a mutual option for 2024.
It was a very strategic choice. The idea was to put the mutual option on as a safety measure, perform well this year, and then go to the free agent market again and sign a proper contract. Boras’ strategy seems to be working. Bellinger made a spectacular comeback this season. As of today, he has a batting average of 0.320, 24 home runs, 86 RBI, 84 runs, 19 stolen bases, and an OPS of 0.916. He is 4th in NL batting average and 5th in OPS. Even though he was out for a month due to a knee injury, his home runs and RBIs are at a level that puts him in the top 10. It can be said that he recovered his skills in 2019.
USA Today reported Boras’ words and said, ‘Bellinger’s price will be very expensive. He predicted that he might ask for more than $200 million and $300 million.
If this is the strategy, Ryu Hyun-jin, who has only been able to play for two months after returning from elbow surgery, is no different from a ‘difficult problem’ for Boras. It is realistically difficult to receive an average annual salary of more than $20 million. He may be looking at a one-year contract like Bellinger.
However, Ryu Hyun-jin is not unfamiliar with this strategy. In 2018, his first free agent season after joining the LA Dodgers, he suffered an injury and was in rehabilitation from early May to mid-August. And after his return, he pitched brilliantly with 4 wins and 3 losses and an ERA of 1.88 in 9 games. Of course, he went to the market expecting to be offered a fairly high price in the free agent market, but Boras had different thoughts. Accepted the Dodgers’ qualifying offer (QO) of $17.9 million. The strategy was to do one more season and target the free agent market again. The result was a huge success. Ryu Hyun-jin increased his value by performing Cy Young Award-level pitching in 2019, hitting the jackpot of $80 million over four years.
Can we use the same strategy this time? Considering the variables of age and health, the conditions and environment are different from 2018. It may not be the best idea to sign a 1-year or 1+1 year contract and pitch full-time next year with top skills and then aim for a big hit again. This is because, as he is about to turn 40, it is unclear whether he will receive a multi-year contract with an average annual salary of more than $20 million in the free agent market at the end of next year. So, if it is a contract that guarantees more than two years, it seems more likely that it will be accepted.
How will Boras explain and persuade Ryu Hyun-jin about this strategy? Everything is still just a question mark. One thing is certain: clubs are starting to pay attention to free agent Ryu Hyun-jin.