With a top starter on the market this winter, should the Yankees make a play for Blue Jays’ Ace Robbie Ray?
This offseason, the New York Yankees need to make some decisions regarding how they want to handle the future of the team for next year and beyond. As we’ve discussed before, the Bombers need to decide whether or not they want to re-sign Anthony Rizzo. They won’t only be evaluating their offense, however, as they’ll likely look at the free agent and trade market to reinforce and improve the starting pitching and bullpen, as well. Among the starting pitchers slated to be a free agent, the likely Cy Young Award winner, Robbie Ray.
Ray’s been pitching for the Blue Jays since last September after a trade from the Diamondbacks, and this season has been a true breakout for the 29-year-old lefty. Ray, in 30 starts and 182.0 innings, has an ERA of just 2.72. He’s also struck out 238 and has a WHIP of 1.02.
Ray’s potential to be dominant has always been a factor, but he’s had issues in the past regarding limiting his walks. In 2021, however, he has kept his base-on-balls numbers in check Walking just 45 this season so far. For reference, Ray walked 45 last season as well, but in just 51.2 innings — nearly a walk per inning. He has a BB/9 of just 2.23, which is slated to be a career-best, breaking his previous best of 3.45.
Ties with the Yankees
Before being dealt to Toronto, the Yankees had interest in Ray when he was with Arizona. Back in 2019, it was reported that the Yanks were talking to the D-Backs about acquiring the lefty, but Arizona held a high price tag over their starter and a deal was never completed. Now, in Toronto, Ray has hit his stride, which may intrigue the Bombers to show a strong interest in him during free agency this Winter.
Big Paycheck Coming Up
As if it needs saying, signing Ray won’t be cheap. He’ll be 30 in October, and this season has almost guaranteed him a mega-deal ahead of next season. He’ll likely command at least a 5-6 year deal that averages around $20-$25 million a season. Whether or not that’s what he deserves based on one good year can be debated, but there’s no doubt that he’ll shot for the moon.
Regardless of what Ray asks for, the Yankees should definitely at least show interest to some degree. The Bombers have loved Ray for years, and while he’s in the midst of a truly dominant season, when’s a better time to target the Cy Young contender than right now?