The Toronto Blue Jays made another move to strengthen their rotation before the MLB trade deadline, acquiring Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray.
Ray, an All-Star selection in 2017, has been mentioned in trade rumors for the past two years. Finally, the 28-year-old is headed to a new home and will be joining a potential playoff contender for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Blue Jays acquired pitcher Robbie Ray
The Blue Jays made pitching a priority coming into the trade deadline. After adding Taijuan Walker on Thursday, the club will now add Ray to its pitching staff.
The trade, first reported by the Toronto Sun’s Rob Longley, adds another starter to stabilize Toronto’s rotation. In exchange for Ray and cash considerations, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, the Diamondbacks receive southpaw Travis Bergen.
It’s certainly not a great return for the Diamondbacks, especially given the potential return they could have received in prior years. However, the club planned to let Ray walk in free agency this offseason and would have lost him for nothing.
Bergen is a 26-year-old relief pitcher and made his MLB debut last season with the San Francisco Giants. He struggled in 2019, posting a 5.49 ERA in 19.2 innings and has spent a majority of the 2020 season in Toronto’s alternate site.
Robbie Ray’s stats, impact on Toronto Blue Jays
Like the Oakland Athletics’ trade for Mike Minor, Toronto is buying low on a pitcher at the trade deadline. While Ray has always experienced issues with his command, the 28-year-old is in the midst of the worst season in his career.
Entering the week, Ray has allowed 31 walks, 31 hits and 27 runs in just 31 innings of work. All told, he holds a 7.84 ERA and 2.00 WHIP on the season. While he is still missing bats, demonstrated by his 27.9% strikeout rate, his command is an alarming problem.
However, there’s no denying the southpaw offers exciting traits. He is averaging 93.6 mph on his fastball this season, the highest mark in his career, and his slider can be electric when he puts it in the right spot.
Ray’s best season came in 2017, when he recorded a 2.89 ERA with 218 strikeouts in 162 innings. While he’s never come close to matching that mark since, he was an effective starter in 2019 with a 4.34 ERA and 235 strikeouts in 174.1 innings.
The Blue Jays come into the week with an 18-14 record, sitting in a good position to make the postseason. If Ray can improve his command slightly, he could even be a starter in a postseason series. This is a low-risk, high-reward trade for Toronto and it could pay off in October.