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Mariners Signing Robbie Ray to a $115 Million Deal

Chicago Cubs

Despite the flurry of activity over the past few days, the Cubs still haven’t made any significant external additions. But at least the latest free agent pitcher signing isn’t someone that was ever connected to the Chicago Cubs, thanks to his attachment to a qualifying offer:

The Seattle Mariners have signed starter Robbie Ray to a really solid five-year, $115 million deal, with an opt-out after year three.

Ray is coming off a dominant Cy Young season, in which he completed 32 starts (193.2 IP) with a 2.84 ERA, a 32.1% strikeout rate, and a 6.7% walk rate. The signing will cost the Mariners a pick in the draft, but they appear ready for a big offseason, in terms of external additions, to win as soon as 2022.

Remember, just last week, the Mariners acquired Adam Frazier from the Padres, and they’ve been connected to a host of top free agents here lately, including former Cubs Kris Bryant (not expected to sign before Wednesday) and Javy Báez (expected to sign today). So I guess stay tuned on that front, because they’re definitely not done yet.

As for Ray, his total guarantee is right in line with the early offseason projections. In fact, Jon Heyman nailed it exactly almost a full month ago. You can now expect the Mariners to be at least marginally more willing on the remaining free agents connected to qualifying offers.

As for our hope that the Cubs would sign a free agent pitcher, here’s what’s left, from my previous write-up after Max Scherzer signed:

As for the Cubs, they were never going to be in on Scherzer, but here’s a list of the top remaining free agent starting pitchers: Robbie Ray, Marcus Stroman, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Rodon, Michael Pineda, Danny Duffy, Alex Wood, and Yusei Kikuchi.

The good news is that’s still a lot of names. The bad news is that Ray is attached to draft pick compensation, Stroman is going to be one of the priciest pitchers out there, Kershaw is widely expected to re-sign with the Dodgers (perhaps especially now (or head to the Rangers)), Rodon had a massive velocity drop at the end of the year that scared the White Sox off from even the qualifying offer, Pineda took three trips to the IL last season (including elbow inflammation and a oblique strain), Duffy managed just 12 starts last season (flexor strain), Wood doesn’t have the sort of fastball the Cubs should be chasing (and he’s expected to re-sign with the Giants), and Kikuchi has a career 4.97 ERA.



Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami