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Report: 2 teams talked about D-backs’ Robbie Ray as potential bullpen help

Starting pitcher Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during sixth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 22, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s well-known that Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray has drawn interest from other teams, but USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Monday a unique wrinkle to those reports.

The left-hander has come up in discussions for two teams who “talked about his value in [the] bullpen,” Nightengale wrote.

The two teams weren’t named.

Ray, 27, has been linked in reports to teams like the Astros, Phillies and Twins. This comes as Wednesday’s MLB trade deadline approaches and after a report from MLB Network’s Jon Morosi this weekend that indicated the D-backs are “focused intently on selling conversations.”

A hard-throwing starter, Ray has pitched in relief only three times in his major league career in the regular season (he also pitched in relief in the 2017 NL Wild Card game). All three of those appearances came in 2014, his rookie season, during which he appeared in nine total games but only six starts for the Detroit Tigers.

Since then, Ray has made 130 starts for the D-backs, including 23 this season, totaling 129 innings pitched with a 3.91 ERA and 1.302 WHIP. His 12.1 strikeouts per nine ranks him fifth in the major leagues, while his 173 total strikeouts this season are seventh in baseball.

Undoubtedly, Ray improved his trade stock on Sunday in a start against the Marlins in which he went six innings, allowing three runs (only two earned) with no walks and a whopping 11 strikeouts. He threw 109 pitches, 81 for strikes — the first time a D-backs pitcher has had 100 or more pitches with 80 or more for strikes since Ray himself did it in 2017.

As Nightengale put it, interest in Ray “intensified” after his Sunday start. He seems to be pitching even better as the trade rumors go about, as Sunday marked just the fourth time in his career that he’s recorded 10 or more strikeouts in back-to-back games.

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