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Cubs free agent target: Robbie Ray

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We can dream, can’t we?

Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

I’ll begin this article by stating that I don’t think the Cubs really have any chance to sign Robbie Ray, who might very well be the American League Cy Young Award winner for 2021.

Nevertheless, he’ll be out there in free agency and who knows? Maybe Jed Hoyer and his baseball ops team will surprise us.

Ray had the best year of his career in 2021, posting a 2.84 ERA, 1.045 WHIP and 6.7 bWAR. The bWAR figure led all AL pitchers by a significant margin (Gerrit Cole was second at 5.6) and was tied for second with Walker Buehler among all MLB pitchers. The ERA and WHIP figures led the AL, and Ray also led the AL in innings, starts and ERA+ and topped all MLB pitchers with 248 strikeouts.

The thing is, Ray had always had this sort of season in him. In fact, his 2017 season with the Diamondbacks was quite similar: 2.89 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, 218 strikeouts in 162 innings, 4.7 bWAR. For that he made the NL All-Star team and finished seventh in Cy Young voting.

Of course he’d look good at the top of the Cubs rotation — he’d look good at the top of just about any team’s rotation. Ray just turned 30 earlier this month. If you look at his injury history, you’ll see he missed a bit of time at the beginning of the 2021 season, but that was one of those one-off wacky injuries:

But most bizarre of all is the injury involving starting pitcher Robbie Ray, who hurt himself falling down the stairs while carrying his child. Ray’s son is okay foremost, but the Blue Jays pitcher is currently on the injured list with a bruised elbow.

He posted this to his Instagram stories a few days ago, letting people know that his new house has an elevator. “No more stairs,” he captioned the video. Hey, at least an elevator is faster and more convenient than one of those stairlifts.

Ray made 32 starts in 2021, so obviously that was no big deal. The only other injury in his career that cost him significant time was an oblique in 2018, he’s clearly past that. He made $8 million in 2021. He had been slated to make $9.43 million in 2020 before the pandemic season pro-rated salaries last year.

Some team is going to give Ray a six-year deal that will have total dollars somewhere north of $130 million. He’s likely to be worth it. Should that team be the Cubs?

Poll

Robbie Ray...

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    ... the Cubs should go for it and offer him six years and $130 million
    (229 votes)
  • 15%
    ... it’ll cost more in years or dollars or both
    (75 votes)
  • 35%
    ... that’s too expensive. Pass
    (179 votes)
  • 3%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (17 votes)
500 votes total Vote Now