Thank You, Robbie Ray! All the Best in San Francisco

Seattle Mariners Photo Day
Seattle Mariners Photo Day / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Mariners traded LHP Robbie Ray on January 5, during his recovery from Tommy John surgery,. In return, the Mariners acquired Anthony DeSciafani and Mitch Haniger.

The Mariners signed Ray to a five-year contract in November 2021, after his Cy Young year with the Toronto Blue Jays. Unfortunately, he was unable to deliver a Cy Young performance during his first year in Seattle. He acknowledged that flying here and there as a free agent and then finding a place to live in the Seattle area, adjusting to a new city and team, shortened the offseason.

Even though he may not have qualified for an MLB award, he did pitch well in 2022.  He pitched more innings than anyone else in the rotation, pitched in 32 games, and struck 212 batters. He had a WHIP of 1.19, and a “batting average against” of .231.

It was clear that he did take the offseason between the 2022 and 2023 seasons to prepare for some serious pitching. His ERA at Spring Training was 1.06 and WHIP was 1.00. Robbie had started pitching a splitter along with Logan Gilbert and his velocity was higher than in 2022.

The news that Ray would have to undergo Tommy John surgery and its long recovery period was disappointing. I cannot imagine how frustrating this injury was for Robbie himself. A silver lining was that fans were able to see young Bryce Miller because of Ray’s absence. Bryan Woo became part of the rotation when Marco Gonzales was also injured.

Jerry Dipoto alluded to the contributions Ray made to the team when he was not on the mound. Other players knew of his experience and insights and talked with him one-on-one. He was generous in helping the younger pitchers. He taught Kirby the two-finger fastball, for example. Dipoto said that he did not think that the team would have ended the drought in 2022 without Robbie.

I was eager to see Ray pitch in the regular season after he did so well in 2023 Spring Training.  Then I was looking forward to watching him pitch for the Mariners in 2024 when he had fully recovered from surgery. I will need to watch Giants games or clips from them to see what he can do post-injury. It could easily be that the Seattle leadership regrets trading him when they witness his pitching this summer.

Thank you for your leadership and pitching, Robbie. We will miss you in Seattle but wish you and your family the best with the Giants.