So, what are they going to do?
I often have readers comment and say things like, “you didn’t tell us what you think will happen!”, so I thought I’d wrap things up by making some predictions. Let me make it clear that I have no insider information on this situation, so this is purely my own speculation here.
I think he’ll be back.
I’m of the opinion that the Blue Jays will only re-sign one player between Ray and Semien, and I think they’ll make pitching the higher priority. I’d definitely have a different opinion if they had been able to extend Berrios by now, but since they haven’t, letting Ray leave means they run of the risk of having neither of them a year from now. Even with Alek Manoah’s emergence, that’s a tough gamble to make.
Before the last two months of the season, I predicted that the Jays would re-sign Ray on a four-year, 70 million dollar contract, but then he went off and took things to another level down the stretch. With the whole season in the rearview and a legitimate case for the Cy Young award on his resume, I think 100 million is now the floor, and I’m going to guess that Ray receives five years and 115 million to come back to the Blue Jays.
When you consider that Gerrit Cole makes 36 million from the Yankees, and others are pushing to earn 30 million or more per season, it’s possible the Blue Jays could get a bit of as “bargain” by re-signing Ray to a term like that, so long as he can keep up his premium output. They do run the risk that he could regress a bit, or even a lot, which is what will keep Ray from reaching for that same pay threshold.
It’s far from a guarantee that the popular lefty will be back with the Blue Jays in 2022, but I have a feeling that he’ll be the big free agent fish for Ross Atkins this offseason. With a team that came so close to making the playoffs, and one that feels like it’s on the cusp of greatness, it would be a shame to see a piece of the puzzle like Ray in another uniform. My guess is the Blue Jays will do what it takes to make sure that doesn’t happen.