LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers made $17.9 million qualifying offers to free-agent pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu and catcher Yasmani Grandal on Friday. The players have 10 days to accept the one-year offer and become a signed player for 2019 or reject it.If either rejects it, he can negotiate with any club,
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers made $17.9 million qualifying offers to free-agent pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu and catcher Yasmani Grandal on Friday. The players have 10 days to accept the one-year offer and become a signed player for 2019 or reject it.
If either rejects it, he can negotiate with any club, including the Dodgers. If he signs elsewhere, the Dodgers would receive a compensatory Draft pick for losing him.
• Qualifying offers explained
Ryu had a fantastic season sandwiched around three months on the disabled list with a left groin pull. He finished the regular season ranking among NL leaders with at least 15 starts in ERA (1.97, 2nd), strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.93, 2nd), WHIP (1.01, 5th), walks per nine innings (1.64, 4th) and opponents' on-base percentage (.260, 5th).
He finished the season strong, going 3-2 with a 1.50 ERA (5 ER/30 IP) in five September starts, striking out 30 against only three walks and posting a 1.10 WHIP. In nine starts at Dodger Stadium this season, he went 5-2 with a 1.15 ERA.
In the postseason, Ryu drew the Game 1 start of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium and beat the Braves with seven scoreless innings on four hits. But over his next three October starts -- two in the NLCS and one in the World Series -- Ryu went 0-2 and allowed 11 runs in 12 innings. All three of those starts were on the road.
The Dodgers already have a corps of starting pitchers under control for 2019 -- Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Thomas Stripling, Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, Julio Urias, Caleb Ferguson, Dennis Santana and Brock Stewart.
The offer to Grandal is a calculated risk for the Dodgers, as the catcher had an uneven season in 2018, when he earned $7.9 million, and the qualifying offer represents a potential $10 million raise. More likely, the Dodgers are hoping/expecting Grandal to reject the offer in the belief he'll seek a multi-year deal elsewhere.
If Grandal returns, he would be a one-year bridge until the first of the Dodgers' deep group of catching prospects is ready for the Major Leagues. They are Keibert Ruiz (age 20), Will Smith (age 23), Diego Cartaya (age 17) and Connor Wong (age 22). MLB Pipeline ranks them second, fifth, 11th and 16th, respectively, among organization prospects.
Grandal, 30 next week, was one of the first players acquired by this front office, which loves his slugging, throwing arm and pitch framing. But he sometimes has trouble controlling the ball and he had a dreadful postseason. In Game 1 of the NL Championship Series, he committed two errors and two passed balls. He went 4-for-29 at the plate with one homer in the postseason. He started only once in the World Series behind Austin Barnes.
During the regular season, he set career-best marks in games (140), runs (65), triples (2) and walks (72). He slashed .241/.349/.466 with 23 doubles, 24 home runs and 68 RBIs. It was his third consecutive season with at least 20 homers and fifth consecutive season with at least 15 homers. He's the first Dodgers catcher with 20-plus homers in three consecutive seasons since Mike Piazza.
Grandal led qualified National League catchers with a 3.40 catcher ERA, while also ranking seventh among NL catchers with a .994 fielding percentage. He threw out 20 basestealers this season (20-for-72, 27.8 percent), which tied for fifth most in the league.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.