South Korean free agent pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin has never had a countryman as a teammate in his major league career. And upon returning home for the offseason on Thursday, Ryu said doing so with veteran South Korean outfielder Choo Shin-soo on the Texas Rangers would be "special."
Ryu, the runner up for the 2019 National League (NL) Cy Young Award, landed home to spend some down time with his family here. He's coming off the best season of his seven-year big league career, leading the majors with a 2.32 ERA while going 14-5 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He finished second to Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets for the Cy Young and became the first Asian pitcher to earn a first-place vote for the top pitching prize.
And Ryu couldn't have picked a better time to have such a strong year. He has elected free agency and will look to sign a lucrative multi-year deal before the 2020 season.
Choo recently told a Korean radio station in Dallas that he has asked the Rangers' front office to pursue Ryu in free agency.
When informed of Choo's comments, Ryu said, "I am grateful. I think it'd be special to be playing with a fellow Korean on the same team."