If the Yankees are, in fact, gung-ho on acquiring a starting pitcher before the trade deadline, they must be wary of Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray.
The 27-year-old is one of the biggest names left on the market. However, his that standing is largely based on a 2017 season in which he went 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA.
Since then, he hasn’t been able to regain that form. Since the start of the 2018 season, his ERA has swelled by over 100 points to 3.92.
Delving deeper into the numbers reveals an even more concerning trend this year as Ray ranks near the bottom of several advanced pitching categories among 39 qualified National League pitchers.
ROBBIE RAY 2019 STATS, NL RANKINGS
ERA- 3.91 (21st)
FIP*- 4.26 (26th)
Walk%- 10.6 (36th)
Home Runs allowed per 9 innings- 1.60 (37th)
Yankees bullpen coach Mike Harkey — who was Ray’s pitching coach in 2015 — remains high on the southpaw despite the concerning numbers.
“He’s 100 times better than he was and he still has potential to be even better than that,” Harkey said (h/t NJ.com). “I see him being a guy who can win 20 games at this level.”
Harkey’s glowing review of Ray might be a reason why the Yankees are still in the sweepstakes. Even more concerning, though, would be the potential return they would send to Arizona.
The Athletic’s Peter Gammons reported on Tuesday morning that Clint Frazier could be sent to the Diamondbacks for either Ray or reliever Archie Bradley.
Considering the Yankees refused to give up their young outfielder last winter for Gerrit Cole, then of the Pittsburgh Pirates, it’s puzzling to see why they would part with Frazier for much less.
Cole has been brilliant since being acquired by the Houston Astros, going 27-10 with a 2.90 ERA.
Frazier has been unable to crack the Yankees’ lineup consistently. But he’s still shown tons of promise. In 53 games this year, the 24-year-old is slashing .283/.330/.513 with 11 home runs and 54 RBI.
If the Yankees were to trade him, it would have to be for a pitcher with much better numbers than Ray’s. Should this deal go down, however, it clearly reeks of panic from Cashman.
*What is FIP?
FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching, which is a pitcher’s effectiveness to avoid home runs, walks, and hit batsmen while causing strikeouts