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D-backs reportedly sign Robbie Ray to 1-year deal, avoid arbitration

Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks avoid arbitration with left-handed pitcher Robbie Ray, signing him to a one-year deal worth $9.43 million, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Friday.

Ray was slated to become a free agent next offseason, following his final year of arbitration eligibility in 2020.

The 28-year-old southpaw has been the subject of speculation and rumors dating back to before the 2019 trade deadline. The D-backs reportedly heard offers on Ray, whose pending free agency was likely a big reason for the rumor mill.

Ray’s numbers in 2019, though, were a step back from his career bests. He had a 4.34 ERA and 1.342 WHIP, which were each far below his career year in 2017 when he had a 2.89 ERA, a 1.154 WHIP and finished seventh in the National League Cy Young Award voting. He was also an All-Star that year.

But since 2017, Ray’s era is a combined 4.17. He also averaged 4.7 walks per nine innings over those two seasons; that, combined with his high strikeout numbers, cause him to often have inflated pitch counts and shorter outings.

In 2019, Ray completed seven full innings only one time. He averaged 17.58 pitches per innings pitched last year, which was the fourth-worst among 61 qualifying pitchers across major league baseball.

Still, his track record of dominant stretches and his ability to get batters to miss each give him tremendous upside, and 23 of his 33 starts last year saw him give up three runs or fewer.

The D-backs also reportedly reached an extension with David Peralta on Friday.

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