As a pending free agent who’s about to embark on a pandemic-shortened season, Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray is facing an especially uncertain future. Ray figures to cash in on his next contract – at least, relative to the majority of other soon-to-be free agents – but perhaps not to the extent that he would have on the heels of a typical 162-game campaign. However, Ray is optimistic he won’t take too much of a hit.
In regards to the upcoming free-agent market, Ray told reporters (including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic and Zach Buchanan of The Athletic): “I think there’s still going to be money out there for guys. You can look towards next year, getting fans in the stands and things like that. I don’t think there’s going to be any kind of issue.”
It remains to be seen whether that will be the case a year from now. In the meantime, Ray – who’s certainly hoping to make a push for as big a payday as possible next winter – has spent the past few months ramping up in an effort to hit the ground running when the regular season kicks off. With that in mind, he’s set on playing in 2020.
“I, honestly, need to pitch this year,” he said.
As things stand, Ray will enter the market as one of the most appealing starters available in a class that looks as if it will generally lack young, high-caliber options. Ray hasn’t consistently posted top-end run prevention numbers, evidenced by his 4.11 ERA/3.97 FIP across 790 2/3 innings, and he also walked a bit over four batters per nine in the majors. But his age (29 in October) and elite strikeout ability should help lead to a good amount of interest from teams looking to better their rotations. Dating back to 2016, Ray’s 11.86 K/9 ranks third among all starters, trailing Chris Sale and Max Scherzer. He also came in third in that category last season, fanning 12.13 hitters per nine to rank behind only Scherzer and Gerrit Cole.