Shoutout to whomever leaked the news to coincide with my lunch break
With the entire baseball world refreshing Twitter like their lives depend on it, and a Seattle fanbase frothing at the bit, Jerry Dipoto has made his biggest Mariners free agent signing * yet * by inking Robbie Ray to a five-year, $115 million deal.
Reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray and the Seattle Mariners are finalizing a five-year, $115 million contract with an opt-out after the third season, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021
Sources confirm @JeffPassan‘s report on the finalizing a a 5-year, $115 million deal with Robbie Ray.
Ray is flying to Seattle to take his physical and sign the contract.
It will be the largest FA contract given by Jerry Dipoto with the Mariners.
— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) November 29, 2021
Mikey Ajeto will have a more in-depth analysis of Ray, as will many other writers, later this week, so for the sake of my day job – and yours – we’ll keep this simple.
THE WHO: Robert Glenn Ray, 30-year-old lefty, 2021 AL Cy Young Award winner and noted pants-wearer.
THE WHAT: A top strikeout dude waylaid by some command issues, Ray’s 2021 season answered the question: “What if Robbie Ray could stop walking guys?” with “He becomes a Cy Young pitcher.” He cut his walk rate in half last year, and though Steamer predicts a bit of regression he’s still tagged for a tantalizing 2022. Ray’s history of durability also adds particular value to a rotation like Seattle’s.
THE WHEN: Pending his physical, Ray will sign for five years and $115 million, with a a no-trade clause for his first two years and an opt out after the third year. On the most basic level, it’s a reasonably-priced, player-friendly deal that leaves plenty of room for additional FA spending.
Ray gets a full no-trade in 1st 2 years of contract with #Mariners and can opt out after the third year. He has an assignment bonus after 2 years if he is traded.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 29, 2021
THE WHERE: Seattle, duh. But in terms of starting rotation, Ray is a lock for the #1 slot.
THE WHY: Ray is instantly the M’s #1 starter, and represents an immediate and dramatic upgrade to a rotation on the cusp of Good. This is the type of deal Mariners fans have been salivating for, and signing the defending Cy Young pitcher sends a message to fans and players alike that Seattle is all in for 2022.
And it sounds like more may be on the horizon…
Mariners are doing things. Looking at several other big pieces including Javier Baez and Kris Bryant (and others).
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 29, 2021
(though take this with a grain of Hey-salt, as always)