With one year to go before reaching free agency, left-hander Robbie Ray stands out as a fairly obvious trade candidate, and Jayson Stark of The Athletic tweets that other clubs feel that the Diamondbacks are indeed more open to trading Ray than they have been in the past. They report indicates the club would prefer controllable pitching in a theoretical return for Ray (though surely there’s no shortage of bats that’d intrigue GM Mike Hazen and his staff).
There’s plenty to like about Ray but also some cause for concern. On the one hand, he only just turned 28 years old and has clearly established himself as one of MLB’s premier strikeout artists. Ray’s 30.8 percent strikeout rate since the start of 2016 ranks fourth among all starters, trailing only Max Scherzer, Chris Sale and Justin Verlander. Over that same span, the 70.8 percent opponents’ contact rate against Ray is the fourth-lowest in the Majors, with only Scherzer, Blake Snell and Luis Castillo ahead of him. He showed his upside with a dominant 2017 season that saw him make the National League All-Star team and finish seventh in Cy Young voting after notching a 2.89 ERA with a league-leading 12.1 K/9 mark.
On the other hand, Ray’s 2019 season wasn’t exactly a high point. He tied a career high with 174 1/3 innings but also pitched to a 4.34 ERA with a 4.29 FIP and 4.02 SIERA. Control has always been an issue for Ray, and it’s only worsened over the past two seasons, during which time he’s walked 12.1 percent of the batters he’s faced. Ray’s fastball averaged 95.3 mph in 2016 and 94.2 mph from 2017-18, but his mean heater was down to 92.7 mph in 2019. He’s missed time in each of the past three seasons, although none of his injuries have been arm-related. He was sidelined by a concussion in 2017, missed six weeks due to an oblique strain in 2018 and had a brief 10-day IL stint in 2019 due to back spasms.
Ray’s strikeout abilities are the sort of thing upon which clubs dream, however, and the general lack of clearly available, high-end arms on the trade market should lead to a healthy amount of interest in the lefty in the coming weeks (or months). MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected a $10.8MM salary for Ray in his final trip through the arbitration process.
With a strong 2020 season, it’s easy to see Ray being the type of pitcher who’d command a qualifying offer next winter — particularly since he’ll pitch all of the 2021 season (his first would-be free-agent year) at 29 years of age. He might alternatively be viewed as a possible extension target. That could increase the willingness of some organizations to give up a prized pitching prospect for a rental hurler, though Hazen will need to work the lines hard to get a premium farmhand.
It is fair to question the reasoning behind a Ray trade from the Arizona perspective. The organization has had plenty of success under Hazen at enhancing the long-term outlook while remaining competitive. But pulling off a repeat of the successful Paul Goldschmidt swap is easier said than done. And while the Snakes have a variety of youthful rotation options to fill in if Ray departs, losing him would significantly downgrade the club’s prospects for success in 2020. If the organization feels it can at least feature as a primary Wild Card contender, if not even challenge the Dodgers in the NL West, perhaps it’s best served hanging onto Ray and hoping he’ll throw well enough both to spur a winning campaign and to warrant a qualifying offer at season’s end.
Good alternative the the top-tier FAs without the monetary commitments
So five years later Ray, Shane Greene, and Didi Gregorius all change addresses together again
Maybe they can all live together in one house and star in a reality show.
“Ten Rooms, Six Balls”?????
If CWS could get him for some now blocked prospects like Collins and Sheets might be interested.
I was thinking about the same thing… since he’s technically a one year rental (it falls on the acquiring team to extend him – lots of risk there), not sure if they prefer arms that the Sox might be ready to give up on (i.e. Fulmer + a solid hitting prospect) or more sought after prospect bats that still have lots of raw potential (i.e. a guy like Collins, as you mentioned). I’d prefer the Sox sign Wheeler but if they can also land Ray…. a rotation with Giolito/Wheeler/Lopez/Kopech/Cease/Rodon looks AMAZING! I’ll keep dreaming until I’m woken up by Wheeler signing elsewhere. 🙂
Really Ramonskee, you really believe Carson Fullmer has ANY trade value? He and Zack Collins are a hype production brought to you by a sham management group. Collins is a strike out machine and a poor excuse for a defensive catcher. Carson Fullmer has blown chance after chance and has done nothing really to remain on the 40 man roster – except for his status as a high draft choice. Hate to tell you but the Easter bunny isn’t real.
Agree Fulmrt not worth anything but a guy who can back up catch and his on base ave was .380 ave over couple minor league stops and hits lefty like Collins has value. Think Sox should keep him for dh, some catch and 1rst. They need lefties
Rodon is the only louie among ‘em, and we won’t see him ‘til June.
Thus Ray would seem a fit, but Sox have said they’re not overly enamoured of the
‘L-R-L-R-L’ strategy just to alter the look.
Skee, Sox don’t want this guy lifetime 4.11 ERA, Base on balls specialist, can’t get thru the 5th inning. Offer Dbacks Charlie Tilson and a bag of Jay’s potato chips, not more. Don’t understand the all the Wheeler love, Love to have a Healthy Hyun-jin Ryu but Sox won’t break the bank for aging, injury prone pitcher nor should they. Hopefully they can land a stud Lefty SP via trade. Rodon is hot garbage
Based on what? Wouldn’t it depend on the price? Ray is a quality pitcher. He’s not elite, but if the price is right…
The price will only be right for Bumgarner and/or Cole. As for the rest of the money, spend on third and the outfield.
Don’t need anymore pitchers that are allergic to throwing strikes already got Newcomb headed back to the rotation.
I have only watched him pitch maybe 5 times but each time he seemed to have really good stuff but threw way too many balls. Pitch count was near 100 in the 4th and 5th innings each time. If he could control a little better, I wouldn’t put it past him to become an elite pitcher. Much easier said than done though.
What you are describing is pretty much every Ray start. He has a dominant left-handed fastball but refuses to throw the ball over the plate. AZ has been holding on to him in hopes he would get this corrected by he simply never has.
Ray to the Rays?
Rays are too cheap to pay that.
To me, Robbie Ray is an enigma. Although WIN isn’t the best measure for how well a pitcher pitches, its still a measure and Ray is on the wrong side of the decision more than he should be. Perhaps its just hard luck or all those BBs, HRs and SOs don’t come at the best time.
He also doesn’t pitch deep into games, so there’s times when the team is leading but he’s out of the game before the end of the 5th
He put it together only for 1 season, 2017. Otherwise he’s been inconsistent and not worth sacrificing top prospects for.
What would it take to get castillo from reds? They arent close to competing and he is 26 soon to be 27?
Starts w lux and 3 other top prospects. 26 4 years control wont come cheap
More than Robbie Ray
Not been paying much attention to the Refs I see
They are extremely close to competing and are willing to spend to get themselves there. They will be in the hunt for the central this year. Castillo isn’t going anywhere.
Hello San Diego…
hope Angel’s give him a call.. what would they have to give up to get him? Knowles? Jam Jones?
Ray has pitched one notable season. Everything else about him is pretty average. He can be effectively wild but the wildness catches up with him in the end. He’s a mid-rotation starter at best and most suitable for a non-contending team, which is why he will probably stay with the D’backs.
Sounds like Cincy-bound to me.
This has Brewers written all over it.
Ray for Ray?
That actually would be a good deal for both sides. Sign me up.
… or you can call me Ray-Ray
Rangers need to hop on this then sign ryu or wheeler. Maybe send over maz, tyler phillips, and then a mid level AA prospect. The d-backs have some pieces coming up pretty soon, in my opinion they are doing their “rebuild” the right way. Mazara shouldn’t go to a rebuilding team, but I think he is young enough to fit the d-backs plans.
Mazara just isn’t very good, and he’s getting expensive. Also, I’d think the Diamondbacks would want players with more control, as Mazara is a FA after 2021.
No maz isn’t good, nor does he have a lot of control, but he has the upside, and the bigger part of the deal is Tyler Philips. If you don’t follow the rangers you won’t know him, but he is a great prospect in the rangers system, I think he is like our 10th ranked or so. He looks like a mid rotation arm.
If he goes, I assume it’s for a more noteworthy package than that. Rangers have a mid range, maybe slightly lower farm. Ray will command better than a double digit prospect headliner from a farm of this caliber
stan lee the manly
Mazara won’t be of interest to the Diamondbacks and that’s not enough to land Ray as it is. Switch him out for one of your top three prospects and then you get him.
The Angels should be all over this.
D-backs reportedly suck.
They have a good young core, they have made all the right moves.
That is laughable.
I also think you’re wrong, 22Leo. They’ve made plenty of good moves, particularly the Greinke trade.
Would love to see the Mets go all in here. Ray is entering his final year and could probably be had with three Top 20 team prospects. Maybe a package of Shervyen Newton, Junior Santos & Tony Dibrell could be enough to pry him away. Some Mets fans would be like, why trade away more prospects. It’s simple, you’re giving your team the best chance of winning in 2020. Secondly, between how successful BVM did on the ’19 draft plus the extra pick they would receive for losing Wheeler, I think the Mets could easily replace these prospects. Lastly, it would set up the Mets nicely for next year’s free agent class. Between Strowman, Ray, Cespedes & Lowrie, the Mets would have almost $70 million coming off the books just with these four players. Seems like a no brainer.
So a guy who hit .209, another with a 5.09 ERA, and a 24-year-old who got shelled in AA. Very Mets type offer.
Learn how baseball works before making an idiotic statement. It has nothing to do with the results, just the talent the player has and what his ceiling might be down the road. Ray has one year left, not 2 or 3. Ray is NOT an ace caliber pitcher, will never be an ace caliber pitcher and is widely overrated. However, doesn’t mean that he’s not a solid SP either. So getting three or even four young prospects for a one year rental is a great deal for any team. The Dbacks are not getting a Top 100 prospect for this guy.
@vtadave Btw, Newton grades out better than the Dbacks #4 prospect Seth Beer. Beer has the better Hit tool but they are equal in the Power department while Newton grades out higher at Run, Field & Arm. Oh yea, I forgot to mention that Newton’s only 20 y/o while Beer is 23 with no true position. So in essence, the Mets #8 prospect ranks equally or better than the dbacks #4 prospect. Like I said, do some research bro before replying. Now you’re the one who looks like a donkey’s behind.
Shoot, if it makes you feel any better, the Mets could throw in Luis Carpio(their #29 prospect) & call it a day. At least he hit “.282” in 113 gms in ’19. Geez……….
The third best infield prospect in a bottom third ranked farm system to a team that has 2 better 20 year old infield prospect does not get you a starting pitcher in the MLB. No matter how many A ball pitchers you throw in.
I get that but the Mets have plenty of prospects that can get Ray. This guy is basing everything on 2019 performances. That’s not how evaluating talent works. There’s a lot that goes into. Did Newton hit .209 this past season, sure but does that mean he doesn’t have talent, no it doesn’t. To say a 20 y/o prospect is not good is just nonsense. Just stating my opinion.
Robbie Ray is a solid SP but not worth ANY team overpaying for 1 yr of his services.
Newton such a prospect that he’s not even protected for the rule 5 draft!
stan lee the manly
Mets won’t be serious contenders with all of the better teams in their division anyways so it wouldn’t really make sense to ship out prospects for a one year rental. If it was one team they had to jump, maybe, but at least two of the Braves, Nationals, and Phillies will finish better than New York next year, especially if Philadelphia spends on quality pitching this time around.
stan lee the manly
Yes. I listed them out right in the comment, what’s the question?
I think its doubtful the Mets go after Ray but Mets had better record than the Phillies despite the horrid start and the Nationals will probably lose Rendon.
If you crunch the numbers for Robbie Ray here is what you would get out of him in six innings of work which we all know is now the benchmark of a starting pitcher.
Pitch count; 105
Had I thrown those numbers at you and not said Robbie Ray I think anyone would say “damn I’ll take that every night“.
Those numbers would be an ERA of 4.50 & a WHIP of 1.50. Not exactly great but serviceable. That looks like a solid 4 or 5 pitcher, not a 1 or 2 by any stretch.
Absolutely correct but in today’s game that is considered a quality start of six innings and three runs. If he goes to a team with a good offense he is leaving practically every start with the lien. And that’s all you ever want from your starting pitcher
Don’t think many teams are drooling over those numbers.
Safe addition for the Texas Rangers. The Cardinals are also a good suitor.
Thank you! Pair him with Minor, Lynn, and either Wheeler or Ryu. That would be a nice 1-4.
Chicago White Sox!!!
Ray isn’t a #1 Ace, but put him on a team paired with an Ace and he is an elite, high strike outs left-hander who would upgrade any team in MLB. Several teams were interested in Ray last year, but Dbacks weren’t interested in trading him, so the Astros settled for Greinke instead. He can be extended on a reasonable contract, so he’s not just a one year rental. It will cost at least one premium prospect, or possibly MLB ready pieces that fit into the Dbacks primary needs—CF, RF and Closer.
Cardinals could fit they have young pitching and young OF he could slide in the 3 slot.
His best role would be as a closer or on a team that likes to use an opener.
Corkscrew or church key?
D’backs are twist-off.
I think the Yanks were trying to get Ray at the deadline, I do think their is a match there. Yanks have some big young arms and they have Frazier and Andujar that fit with the D-Backs.
How much does Drew Smyly need to sign a one year deal?
With another year of worsening control/command from Robbie Ray is there any significant difference between the two?
Mets trade Gimenez,Smith and Szapucki for Ray
Or Matz and Sanchez for Ray
Keep him until the deadline and then see where we are. Too early to trade unless we’re blown away.
Ray is the lefty version of Archer.