Toronto Blue Jays Acquire Robbie Ray

The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired starting pitcher Robbie Ray from the Arizona Diamondbacks. This move comes just hours before the trade deadline with Toronto locked in a tight American League East race. The Jays sent relief pitcher Travis Bergen back to Arizona in exchange. Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun announced the move early Monday afternoon.

Blue Jays Acquire Robbie Ray

Ray was struggling in this strange and abbreviated 2020 season. The 28-year-old currently has a 7.84 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 31 walks in 31 innings. The walks are a huge part of why Ray has fallen short this year. His career walk rate is 4.2 per nine innings, but it is up to 9.0 in 2020. Ray is striking out a career-best 12.5 hitters per nine, but the free passes are hurting him.

The Washington Nationals originally selected Ray in the 2010 MLB Draft out of high school. Washington traded him to the Detroit Tigers in 2013 in exchange for Doug Fister. Ray debuted for Detroit in 2014 with 28 2/3 innings and an 8.16 ERA but he has improved since joining the Diamondbacks via another trade in the winter of 2014. He has a 4.11 ERA in 793 innings with 998 strikeouts and 376 walks. This year is a significant outlier, so there is hope that Ray returns to form with Toronto.

What This Means for the Future

Ray might not be having the best season, but there are some encouraging signs. There is the increased strikeout rate, and his average fastball velocity is up just over one mile per hour. The Blue Jays are in the bottom-third of the league for WAR among starting pitchers, so Ray could help boost the unit’s overall production for the final three weeks of the season.

The Diamondbacks get an interesting pitching prospect in return. Bergen debuted in 2019 for the San Francisco Giants but threw just 19 2/3 innings. He has only pitched 1 2/3 innings in 2020 with a 0.00 ERA. He should get a decent chance to throw innings for Arizona this season and solidify a role as a bullpen option.

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