ESPN: Pitcher Robbie Ray most likely Diamondback to be traded
Now that the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed Madison Bumgarner, the team has two paths it could pursue.
One: Pitch a one-two southpaw punch of Bumgarner and Robbie Ray.
Two: Trade away Ray, who is on an expiring contract.
ESPN thinks the latter is more likely.
The outlet published an article that lists the player on each team most likely to be traded this MLB season. Ray was the Diamondback selected.
The 2017 All-Star has not been the same pitcher over the last two seasons, throwing a 4.17 ERA, struggling to pitch late into games and seeing his fastball velocity drop from 94.4 in 2017 to 92.7 last season.
But left-handed pitchers who strike out a high number of batters are among the most sought-after commodities, and with the expectation Ray takes a step closer to his elite peak, a contender could come for his services.
Coming off an 85-win season, the D-backs have constructed an interesting roster, and I’d love for them to keep Ray and roll the dice. No doubt catching the Dodgers will take a lot of breaks, but the D-backs should be strong wild-card contenders. Maybe they’ll end up holding on to Ray, but given that he’ll be a free agent, his name will remain front and center in trade rumors.
The D-backs have several names whose spots in the rotation are secure or are expected to compete for a place on the roster.
Bumgarner, Mike Leake and Luke Weaver are set rotation pieces. Zac Gallen was excellent after arriving in the Valley, Merrill Kelly pitched in the majors all season and Alex Young was called up at the end of June and remained for the rest of the year. Taylor Clarke and Jon Duplantier are prospects who bounced back and forth.
If the D-backs want to open a spot for one, Ray likely has the most value of any tradeable options on that list.
Ray is set to make $10.8 million this season, according to Sportrac. The D-backs did not trade Patrick Corbin during the 2018 season when he was on an expiring contract, instead electing to keep him in the postseason chase. He signed a deal with the Washington Nationals that offseason.
Will Arizona play Ray’s contract status differently this year?