The Future of Robbie Ray
One can certainly say that the Arizona Diamondbacks made the surprise move of Free Agency by signing left-hander Madison Bumgarner to a five-year deal worth $85 million last week. Does that signing signal that the Diamondbacks’ next move will be to trade lefty Robbie Ray, since they have an abundance of starters?
Currently the Diamondbacks rotation would have Bumgarner as the Number One – with Ray, Luke Weaver, Zac Gallen, and Mike Leake coming after. That leaves Merrill Kelly as a possible spot starter. It also leaves Alex Young, Taylor Clarke, and Jon Duplantier looking to stay on the MLB roster as relievers.
Trade for Outfield or Bullpen Help
One motive for a trade could be holes in the team’s defense. The Diamondbacks, who look to be rich in starting pitchers, are in need of outfielders and a late-inning reliever. The team would like to move Ketel Marte back to second base, leaving an opening in center field. They’re also in need of a right fielder. A trade involving Ray could bring the needed players.
Teams are always looking for starters, especially left-handers. The fact that there are a lot of teams seeking starting pitchers could have the Diamondbacks considering a move.
Do not Have to Trade
However, the Diamondbacks don’t have to trade Ray. They could keep him to team up with Bumgarner forming a quite impressive 1-2 southpaw duo. With Bumgarner’s deal calling for only a $6 million salary in 2020, the team still has enough financial flexibility that they could fill their defensive needs with Free Agency or by trading one of their young pitchers for outfield help.
Needs a Big Season
Ray, who turned 28 in October, will be a free agent after the 2020 season. The Diamondbacks might not want to overpay to get him to come back. If he is not traded and is the Number Two starter, he needs to have a 2020 season similar to the one he had in 2017. He won 15 games that season and had a 2.89 ERA. The team also counted on him to stop losing streaks.
Since then, however he has struggled. Last year, Ray had a 4.34 ERA — the second-highest of his career — and he continued to struggle with efficiency, pitch counts, and walks.
Matt Herges is the new pitching coach. Herges prides himself on communication and building relationships with his pitchers. He combines that with his use of analytics. Could he help Ray return to his dominant form? Is Ray still coachable at 28 or is he now too set in his ways to change?
Outlook for Robbie Ray
It will be interesting to see how Ray pitches in 2020, especially early. He has all the tools to be an outstanding pitcher. If he can find a way to control his pitches and cut down on the walks, he has the chance to get back to being that dominant pitcher. It would be great if that was in a Diamondbacks uniform. Whether it is as a member of the Diamondbacks or a new team still remains to be seen.
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