The argument against re-signing Robbie Ray
I could talk your ears off all day about all the reasons why the Blue Jays should try to re-sign Robbie Ray, but I doubt that there are many of you who need convincing. As much as I hate to admit it, there’s an argument against handing a big contract to the southpaw.
To begin with, I’ve seen projections that measured anywhere from 100-138 million for Ray’s next contract. MLBTR has him slated for five years and 130 million, and it’s possible that his market could go up to that range. That’s a lot of money to commit to one player, and it comes with a fair bit of risk when you remember that he doesn’t have a long track record of elite production. It’s also a lot of money when you remember that the Jays also hope to re-sign Jose Berrios sometime before he becomes a free agent a year from now, and he may end up with a similar price tag when all is said and done.
Speaking of considering others when it comes to the budget, the Blue Jays will have some important decisions to make over the next few years, especially if they are successful in bringing back Ray and/or Marcus Semien. I’ve already mentioned that Berrios will be a free agent a year from now, and the same will happen for Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in two years. Looking ahead even further, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette will be free agents after 2025 if the Jays can’t extend them ahead of time. With an AAV of 25 million committed to George Springer for five more years, 20 million per season for Ryu for two more, and various other commitments, they won’t be able to keep everybody.
So is Ray the one that the Blue Jays reluctantly let leave? Some folks will tell you that’s for the best, and I can understand where they’re coming from. That’s especially the case when I look at the rest of the free agent market that also includes premium veterans like Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw, to name a few. I’m not sure if the Blue Jays have a real chance of signing any of that trio, but a big-dollar, short-term contract might work better for Atkins’ master plan than committing to five or even six years for Ray. We also know that the Blue Jays have long been fans of Kevin Gausman, who is also a free agent after an excellent season with the Giants.
As much as the Blue Jays would obviously love to have Robbie Ray back on a new contract, it’s not as easy as handing him a blank cheque. There are other premium pitchers available, other roster considerations to keep in mind, and reasons to question how real Ray’s transformation might be over the long-term. He’s also going to be very expensive, and allowing him to leave will bring an extra draft pick into the fold.
Still, it won’t be easy to see him go if he leaves for another team.