LOS ANGELES — Starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu has accepted the Los Angeles Dodgers’ qualifying offer, but starting catcher Yasmani Grandal has declined it.
Ryu will return on a one-year, $17.9 million contract while Grandal will venture into the free-agent market, giving the Dodgers draft pick compensation.
The Dodgers will likely seek a catcher on a short-term deal to replace Grandal in order to buy time before their promising prospects are ready to contribute at the major league level.
Ryu gives the Dodgers at least eight major league-ready starting pitchers heading into 2019, a list that also includes Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling and Julio Urias.
Ryu became only the sixth among 80 players to accept the qualifying offer since the system began in 2012, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The 31-year-old starter is coming off a highly effective season with the Dodgers. Despite missing more than three months after tearing the left groin muscle off the bone, the left-hander finished with a 1.97 ERA, fourth-lowest among pitchers with at least 80 innings, and had career-bests in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.93) and WHIP (1.01) in 15 starts.
That success, however, was missing in the postseason, as Ryu gave up a combined 11 runs in 12 innings during the NLCS and the World Series.
Grandal, 31, also struggled in the postseason as he was benched in favor of Austin Barnes, which put a bitter end on a 2018 season that saw Grandal post an .815 OPS and belt 24 home runs. He was booed by fans throughout Game 3 of the NL Championship Series amid his struggles, causing teammate Enrique Hernandez to lash out at Dodgers fans.
An All-Star in 2015, Grandal has batted .240/.341/.441 with 113 home runs and 339 RBIs in 726 games through seven seasons with the San Diego Padres and Dodgers. His .792 OPS from 2014 to 2018 ranks third among catchers, trailing only Buster Posey and Wilson Contreras during that stretch.
Grandal has also ranked within the top four in pitch framing each of the last four seasons, according to Baseball Prospectus. But he has also committed a major league-leading 43 passed balls during that same period.