Robbie Ray – Starting Pitcher, 30 years old
Team: Seattle Mariners
Contract: 5 years, $115 million
Past Career/Last Year Highlights
- 2017 NL All-Star Selection
- 2021 AL Cy Young Winner
- 2021 MLB Strikeout Leader (248 Ks)
- All-time MLB Leader for K/9
Seattle Mariners’ Recent History: 90-72, 2nd in the AL West.
Last postseason appearance was 2001. That’s over two decades ago. Not great.
Robbie Ray has been a solid arm in every rotation he’s pitched in, but 2021 was something else. After resigning with the Blue Jays for another season after 2020, Ray turned on the jets and pitched his way to a well-deserved Cy Young award. The timing seemed perfect for him to score a big contract.
And yet, Robbie Ray signed with the Seattle Mariners for 5-years and $115 million, the same deal that the Blue Jays gave to Kevin Gausman hours before. That’s a bit shocking, considering the year he’s coming off. And it’s also interesting considering that statistically, no one has ever struck out more hitters per nine innings than Robbie Ray.
There’s also the fact that Ray just turned 30 and probably could’ve gotten a longer deal. So why settle for Seattle? In a word: opportunity.
Seattle is smack dab in the middle of a generational shift. Coming out of the rebuild that followed the Felix Hernandez years, the Mariners should be two to three years out from being competitive. And yet, with a young roster of talent, and more on the way from their farm system, the Mariners made a valid push for the second AL Wild Card and could’ve possibly grabbed the AL West crown from the Astros.
Yes, they’re very much was a piece of their postseason push that felt otherworldly and magical, but you cannot deny that this team is stacked with talent. And yet, we haven’t even scratched the surface, especially with Seattle’s pitching staff. That’s where Ray’s perfect fit is, as the young ace of a youthful rotation.
This is a fantastic signing for Seattle. It doesn’t break the bank, and it doesn’t detract from their rebuild plan. This team is ready for the next chapter of Pacific Northwest weirdness, and Robbie Ray is prepared to captain their ship. But will he be able to replicate the success he had in 2021? Only time will tell.
Turf Analysis – Grade = B
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