Mariners signing AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, per reports

Nov 29, 2021, 12:33 PM | Updated: 4:34 pm
Mariners Robbie Ray...
Toronto Blue Jays' Robbie Ray delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox on June 13. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Any concerns about whether the Mariners will walk the walk in free agency apparently just went by the wayside. Seattle is finalizing a contract with left-hander Robbie Ray, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, according to reports by several MLB reporters Monday afternoon.

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The Mariners are set to give Ray a five-year contract worth $115 million – $23 million annually – with an opt-out clause after the third year, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that Ray will get a full no-trade clause in the first two years of the deal with Seattle.

Michael Mayer of Metsmerized and first reported Ray landing with the Mariners.

The signing of Ray will cost the Mariners draft pick compensation to Toronto, who extended a qualifying offer to the veteran southpaw.

Ray, who turned 30 last month, had a superstar year with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021, going 13-7 with a 2.84 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 248 strikeouts over 32 starts (193 1/3 innings). He led all of MLB in strikeouts, won the AL’s ERA and WHIP titles, and his 23 quality starts were tied for second behind only the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler in all of baseball. He was also second in the AL in batting average against (.210), fifth in MLB in strikeouts per nine innings (11.5), and ninth in MLB in strikeouts-to-walk ratio (4.77).

Ray is quite literally one of the most prolific strikeout pitchers in baseball history. He broke an MLB record this year with 1,241 strikeouts through the first 1,000 innings pitched in his MLB career.

After spending 5 1/2 seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ray came to Toronto during the 2019 season in a trade. He began his MLB career in 2014 with the Detroit Tigers.

Ray, who was an All-Star in 2017 with the Diamondbacks, repeated a feat in 2021 pulled off by then-Mariners ace Félix Hernández in 2010 by winning the AL Cy Young despite not making the All-Star team that same year.

The addition of Ray would be the second big move of the Mariners offseason, coming just two days after Seattle traded for 2021 All-Star second baseman/outfielder Adam Frazier from the San Diego Padres. The move also would relieve anxiety in the fan base about whether the Mariners would make a big splash in free agency this offseason. That became a concern as big names came off the board during a busy period Sunday, most notably Marcus Semien, a 2021 AL MVP finalist who the M’s had been linked to but landed with division rival Texas.

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