Robbie Ray has been one of the bright spots for the Toronto Blue Jays this season and the team should seriously consider re-signing him.
When the Toronto Blue Jays wasted no time bring back Robbie Ray as soon as free agency opened, there wasn’t much to hate about the move.
Ray was familiar with the team and pitching coach Pete Walker and the team was trending in the right direction. Without his contributions this season, it’s hard to see Toronto in a position to contend for a playoff spot even if they continue to struggle.
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In the five starts in August, Ray has a 1.59 ERA over 34 innings including a 14-strikeout performance against the Chicago White Sox this week. Unfortunately, Ray hasn’t picked up a single win this month but that’s why you shouldn’t judge a pitcher simply by their win-loss record.
Ray is 9-5 with a 2.72 ERA and 1.02 WHIP on the season and getting some recognition as a potential AL CY Young candidate. He sits atop the American League in bWAR (5.5) and strikeouts (192) and second in ERA.
This now has many wondering if this means Ray is pricing himself out of the Blue Jays being able to bring him back again. Safe to say Toronto will have to offer more than the one-year, $8 million deal he signed back in November of 2020.
Toronto Blue Jays will need to think about term in a potential deal with Robbie Ray
If there is one thing that teams have to be careful about in free agency isn’t necessarily the salary they pay but how many years they give a player. This will especially be true in Ray’s case considering he will have many suitors.
Ray will be 30 years old next season so he still has some good years left in him. At the same time, there aren’t many teams giving out more than five years to pitchers especially those 30 and over so that will likely be the maximum term Ray will get.
The Blue Jays are no strangers to pursuing a pitcher 30 and over in free agency when they signed Hyun-jin Ryu in 2019. They gave him a four-year, $80 million at the time which wasn’t too outrageous when you consider the resume he had after he posted a 1.97 ERA over 15 starts.
This would be an ideal deal for Toronto if they were looking to bring Ray back and having to pay him what the market dictates he gets. They would really need to avoid paying Ray what the Philadelphia Phillies gave Zack Wheeler in 2019 when he struck gold on a five-year, $118 million contract.
The Blue Jays will have Ryu, Alek Manoah, Jose Berrios and Ross Stripling in the fold but having depth in the rotation continues to be essential. One thing that might determine the Blue Jays’ decision-making process is whether they believe Manoah can build off his impressive rookie season.
At the same time, why would the Blue Jays handicap their pitching staff by not locking down arguable their best arm in Ray especially with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays all playoff contenders.
Do you think the Blue Jays should make it a priority to re-sign Ray? What would you pay him and what could he get in free agency? Let us know in the comments below.