Like Ryu Hyun-jin four years ago… Selected for the opening match over Kershaw, another reserve free agent ‘Boras’ man’

Mexican left-hander Julio Urias (27) has been confirmed as the starting pitcher for the opening game of the 2023 season of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The selection of Yurias, who will become the first free agent at the end of this season, reminds me of Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays) four years ago. 

The Dodgers announced Urias on the 25th as the starting pitcher for the opening game of the regular season against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California on the 31st (Korean time). This is the honor of starting the opening game for the first time for Yurias, who debuted in 2016 and has been in his 7th year in the major leagues this year. 

According to local media such as ‘’토토사이트, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “Urias has achieved a lot in his career, and starting the opening game is one of the things he has left.” Clayton Kershaw, who has the record for the most Opening Day starts in the Dodgers’ history, said, “Think about who threw the best last year. Urias is well qualified for the opening match. It’s a special thing,” he said to the fullest. 

Last year, Urias threw 175 innings in 31 games, recording an average ERA of 2.16 and 166 strikeouts with 17 wins and 7 losses. He ranked first in the National League (NL) earned run average and was also ranked third in the Cy Young Award. “The opening match selection is another achievement in my career,” said Urias. In our starting lineup of talent, selection for the opening game is important. I am grateful to the club for choosing me. I am very happy,” he said. 

Urias will become a free agent after this season. As a client of ‘Super Agent’ Scott Boras, he is expected to be a top free agent next to Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels). There has been no word yet on the Dodgers’ contract extension discussions. 

Yurias also said, “I don’t know anything about the extension contract. The agent is doing his job, and I’m happy to have him by my side. He can take any contact and do anything. All decisions regarding the contract will be made by the agent,” he said. “I will focus on preparing for the opening match against Arizona.” 

In many ways, Yurias’ situation is similar to Ryu Hyun-jin, who was a member of the Dodgers four years ago. He was the same left-handed pitcher, who beat Kershaw to become the Dodgers Opening Day starter during the free agency season. The agent is the same as Boras, and the fact that the Dodgers do not take an active gesture to renew the contract before the season is very similar to Ryu Hyun-jin four years ago. 

In 2019, Ryu Hyun-jin started the opening game instead of Kershaw, who was late for the season due to a shoulder injury. In the opening game, he announced the monster season by winning 6 innings and 1 run against Arizona. He played in 29 games (182⅔ innings) with 14 wins, 5 losses, an earned run average of 2.32, and 163 strikeouts, and had the best season with 1st place in the NL average ERA and 2nd place in the middle. After the season, he signed a four-year, $80 million contract with Toronto and hit the FA jackpot. I wonder what the future of Yurias, who is similar to Ryu Hyun-jin, will be like.

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