The Blue Jays struck early in free agency, signing Robbie Ray again for a one-year contract and hoping he can continue to evolve into himself.
The Blue Jays are the first to close this offseason, signing Robbie Ray to a one-year, $ 8 million contract according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Robbie Ray has just had a terrible season, with an ERA of 6.62 and 45 steps in 51.2 IP.
Re-signing Robbie Ray was a decent move for this Jays club, but the question is whether he is actually worth $ 8 million. His numbers were pretty lousy last year, but there’s also a point to be made that a small sample of 11 starts in a shortened season doesn’t do the southpaw justice.
Between Ray’s 2017 All-Star season and the 2018-19 campaigns, he boasted a modest 3.72 ERA in 85 starts with a staggering K / 9 of 12.1. If his 2020 numbers were just the product of a small sample size the Jays get a good deal, but if his numbers don’t end up settling in a larger sample then the Jays are paying too much for Robbie. Ray. Although $ 8 million is not enough to cash a team in baseball terms, especially a team owned by a huge public corporation (Rogers Communications). At this point, the question for Blue Jays fans is whether Ray’s numbers were only inflated due to poor stretching in a small sample.
Robbie Ray’s overall player profile matches the Blue Jays MO’s bill in their rotation of having guys constantly eating innings to take the pressure off the bullpen and rookies. Excluding the shortened 2020 campaign, Robbie Ray released at least 123.2 IP between 2015 and 2019. This is similar to the signing of Tanner Roark’s last offseason and the acquisition of Chase Anderson. Between Roark, Anderson and Ray, all are starting pitchers with modest career ERAs between 3 highs and 4 lows and an ability to pitch a lot of innings.
At just 29, this coming season will be crucially important for Ray to secure a bigger contract next year. For Ray, this is an opportunity to rebuild his worth and put 2020 behind him in 2021. A good season in 2021 should help undo his appalling performance in 2020 and secure a multi-year deal. However, another bad season could make Robbie Ray the new MLB mate.
The quick move on the hot stove could be one more sign to come for the Blue Jays. They have just finished their first winning season after three losses and are looking to increase their payroll. In 2017, after back-to-back ALCS appearances, the Jays placed 7th in baseball with a total payroll of around $ 175 million. Currently, the Jays have a much more favorable aging curve when it comes to performance and are looking to have an offseason that begins to push their payroll up to higher levels in the league. Mark Shapiro recently told Sportsnet: “The resources will be there to be added in a significant way and we will run this offseason like the last offseason.” This statement indicates that a brand acquisition, much like Hyun Jin Ryu last season, will again be expected.
Next: Is Lindor interested in playing in Toronto?
For the sake of Jays fans, I hope this signing of Robbie Ray is just the calm before the storm.