The Blue Jays have made their first signing of the off-season.
According to Jeff Passan, the team has re-signed lefty pitcher Robbie Ray to a one-year deal worth $8,000,000.
First free agent deal of the offseason is done. Left-hander Robbie Ray and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a one-year, $8 million deal, a source familiar with the contract tells ESPN. Good start to the hot stove for Toronto, which will use Ray as a starter, and for Ray.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 7, 2020
Ray, of course, was acquired by the Blue Jays ahead of the trade deadline from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Travis Bergen.
His 2020 season had been a complete disaster but Ray’s performance improved after joining the Blue Jays. In 31 innings with the Diamondbacks, Ray had a 7.84 ERA but he improved to a respectable 4.79 ERA over 20 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays. He also had an impressive three-inning showing in relief against Tampa Bay in Game 1 of the wild-card round.
It wasn’t that long ago that Ray was an ace starter in Arizona. Back in 2017, he posted a 2.89 ERA and had the most strikeouts per nine in baseball at 12.1. He finished seventh in Cy Young voting that season.
Ray has all the stuff to be really, really good. He’s a hard-throwing lefty who features a wipeout slider. The key is getting his command under control. If the Blue Jays can tinker with Ray and get him throwing strikes more consistently, they have themselves a great pitcher here.
That’s obviously a pretty big if (given the fact he walked 7.8 batters per nine in 2020) but it’s absolutely worth the risk at an $8,000,000 price tag.