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With Ryu introduction, Jays enjoy a potential turning point

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28.12.2019

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TORONTO — A few minutes after Hyun-Jin Ryu donned a Toronto Blue Jays jersey with his customary No. 99 stitched onto the back, Scott Boras, as usual, provided the quip of the day when it was noted that the number has some significance in this country.

“Actually, Canada lent No. 99 to L.A., so we thought with Hyun-Jin we’d return it back to Canada,” Ryu’s agent said with a grin as the club was unveiling their prized free-agent acquisition Friday evening at Rogers Centre.

It captured the feeling of the day perfectly.

Inside a press conference room packed with media, a large portion of them with South Korean interests, it was a scene filled with smiles and positivity as the four-year, $80-million contract the Jays handed the 32-year-old lefty became official after he passed his standard physical.

These types of days have been few and far between for the organization since 2016.

While Ryu is just beginning, one of the first pieces the Blue Jays’ front office tandem of GM Ross Atkins and president/CEO Mark Shapiro have imported to surround their core of homegrown kids, Friday’s introduction of the team’s new ace still felt like a turning point.

It remains to be seen if the fork in the road the franchise took this winter will result in a contender - only time will tell - but the focus shifting is exactly what the fan base has been waiting for since it became readily apparent early in the 2017 season that something drastic had to be done with a roster that got old almost overnight.

Two-and-a-half-years later, the days of tearing down are officially done.

From here on out, it’s about building back up.

When Boras, the most powerful agent in sports, believes it and........

© TSN