Top 5 Short-Term Stints in Blue Jays History
Ray is now a Seattle Mariner. This is still something I’m working through, so please be delicate. His short tenure with the Blue Jays was nothing short of remarkable. He arrived to the Jays in a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Ray was no doubt struggling when he arrived. The version of Ray that was in Arizona was a pitcher with great stuff. However, this stuff was rarely controlled in the strike zone. This resulted in a staggering 7.8 BB/9. Ray had shown potential earlier in his career, being an All-Star in 2017. Regardless, Ray was an inconsistent pitcher to this point in his career.
He did his best to provide a beleaguered pitching staff with innings and consistency. When the bullpen was costing the Blue Jays games, Ray was someone you could confidently expect to work into the sixth inning with regularity. This meant a lot to a fringe playoff team full of young, talented players who were scoring runs on a daily basis.
Then came 2021. Ray re-signed with the Blue Jays on a quick $8 million, 1 year contract. Under the tutelage of Pete Walker, Ray started pounding the zone while using predominantly two pitches. Fangraphs shows that he used his fastball 59.8% of the time and his slider 31% of the time. This simple pitch selection wielded fruitful results, as Ray had a 11.5 K/9 with his BB/9 being at a lowly 2.4. This unprecedented improvement in strike zone management led to his Cy Young award, and eventually his new 5-year deal with Seattle. This short term stint with the Blue Jays was no doubt transformative and impactful. I wish Robbie the best, and truly wish it could’ve been a longer stay.