Signed a five-year, $115 million deal with the Seattle Mariners (opt-out after three)
After being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks midway through the 2020 campaign, left-hander Robbie Ray returned to the Blue Jays on a one-year deal and became one of the most dominant pitchers in the American League. The starting pitcher led numerous pitching categories in the AL like innings pitched (193.1), ERA (2.84), and strikeouts (248), which was actually league-leading (not just within the AL). He eventually finished the season with some hardware, taking home the AL Cy Young Award and geared up to cash in at free agency.
While it was reported that the Jays were interested in a reunion, Ray left the team and joined the Seattle Mariners on a five-year deal worth $115 million, which includes an opt-out after the third season. This also netted the Jays a compensation pick after he rejected the clubs qualifying offer prior to signing with the Mariners.
So far with his new club, Ray is also struggling to find his 2021 form. Through ten starts, he owns a 4.75 ERA and while he currently leads the league in innings pitched (60.2), his 10.09 K/9 is roughly one and a half points lower than what it was with the Jays last season. The Tennessee product has also struggled with the walks this year, boasting a 3.1 BB/9 compared to the 2.4 he put up last year.
Ultimately, it looks like the Jays and Ray were never destined to reunite, as the southpaw did not make the trip to Toronto when the Mariners rolled into town last week. While the Mariners did not address the reason why he wasn’t with the team, considering the former Cy Young winner would be subject to COVID-19 laws when entering the United States and Canada (that differed from last year), one can kind of assume why he wasn’t North of the border, especially after all the success he had with the Jays last season.