Dallas Keuchel- three years, 55 million
I’m not intentionally choosing southpaws to compare here, but that’s just what the 2019 offseason gave us to work with. To that end, another player that might come up in contract discussions as a comp could be Dallas Keuchel.
Like Bumgarner, Keuchel has a pretty solid resume that includes an AL Cy Young award, but even in 2019 that wasn’t enough to land him more than a three-year deal. Keuchel was a little older at the time at 31 years old, and was 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.367 WHIP in 2019 pitching for Atlanta. That season he also signed late while waiting for a multi-year contract, so he only threw 112.2 innings over 19 starts.
What I like about the comp is that Keuchel had a few seasons where he pitched at an ace-calibre level, and others where he wasn’t the same guy. His repertoire is much different than Ray’s, but I feel like their resumes are similar enough that the Jays could point to this type of contract to try and keep Ray to a three-year deal. I doubt it’ll work though,
Hyun Jin Ryu- four years, 80 million
One more southpaw, and why not have a look at how close Ray’s situation is to the one that brought Hyun Jin Ryu to Toronto before the 2020 season?
To be clear, Ryu was on another level at that point of his career, arguably hitting free agency at the perfect time. During the 2019 season with the Dodgers he was an All-Star, and finished 2nd in NL Cy Young voting with a 14-5 record, an NL leading 2.32 ERA, a 1.007 WHIP and 4.8 bWAR over 28 starts and 182.1 innings pitched. That was also coming off a 2018 campaign that saw him post a 1.97 ERA over 15 starts in a season shortened by injury.
There were three things that held Ryu back a bit as a free agent. The first was that he was 32 years old at the time, limited him from ultimately getting more than four years. Secondly, he had a bit of injury history during his time with the Dodgers. Third, he was a free agent at the same time as Gerrit Cole.
Looking at that bWAR stat, Ray’s agent can actually use the Ryu comp without getting laughed out of the room. Ray is on pace to have a better than 5.0 WAR season, and he won’t turn 30 until October, making him two years younger than Ryu was at the time. Yes, he doesn’t have the same resume that Ryu brought to the negotiation table, but there are positives to point to that could even things out more than we think.