Rumors

The Phillies are high on Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray, per report



Robbie Ray could be a potential trade target for the Phillies. (jnashboulden)

By the end of the offseason, it appears Philadelphia Phillies fans may be very familiar with the Arizona Diamondbacks 2018 starting rotation.

Monday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Phillies are expected to be ‘major players’ for Patrick Corbin, a free-agent that posted a 3.15 ERA, 2.47 FIP and 6.3 fWAR in 200.0 innings for the Snakes in 2018. In the latest Phillies Nation Mailbag, I examined whether the Phillies could be a trade partner for Zack Greinke, who the Diamondbacks have under contract for three more seasons. And it doesn’t stop there.

According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray is someone that the organization has been fond of at least dating back to last offseason:

Ray, 27, is a guy the Phillies have long liked. His name was kicked around last winter.

An oblique injury limited Ray to 24 starts in 2018. Across 123.2 innings, Ray posted a 3.93 ERA and 4.31 FIP, marking his worst season since he was a rookie for the Detroit Tigers in 2014. Still, Ray had put together three pretty impressive seasons prior to that:

Year ERA FIP fWAR Innings Pitched
2015 3.52 3.53 2.2 127.2
2016 4.90 3.76 3.1 174.1
2017 2.80 3.72 3.2 162.0

The 27-year-old, who was an All-Star in 2017, did see his BB/9 jump from 3.94 to 5.09 in 2018. It’s fair to wonder if he was healthy even once he returned from an oblique strain that cost him all of May and most of June. If the Phillies are confident in his health moving forward, Ray, who went 15-5 for a playoff team in 2017, could be an intriguing trade target. He also has two remaining arbitration years, so he can’t be a free-agent until after 2020.

Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen is likely to see Corbin depart in free-agency this offseason. He has a difficult decision to make on the future of 31-year-old franchise icon Paul Goldschmidt, who can be a free-agent after the 2019 season. So from that perspective, the Diamondbacks would appear motivated to at least listen on any player on their roster, because, at the very least, their roster is going to be retooled.

At the same time, the Diamondbacks entered what turned out to be a disastrous month of September in first place in one of the most competitive divisions in baseball. Sure, if the right offer comes up for Greinke, a 35-year-old that’s still owed over $100 million, they’ll jump at it. But if they hope to compete for the postseason in the coming years, you would think Ray would be a part of that. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t trade him, but the offer would likely have to be fairly overwhelming for the Diamondbacks to part with Ray or Zack Godley. An overwhelming offer coming the Diamondbacks way after Ray’s worst season since 2014 doesn’t feel especially likely, though it’s not hard to see why he would be of interest to a team like the Phillies, who are hoping to add middle-of-the-rotation stability.

Phillies president Andy MacPhail did say at his season-ending press conference that he has a desire for the Phillies to become more left-handed, a desire that will presumably will be filled with an external addition(s), as opposed to prospects Ranger Suarez and JoJo Romero. Even with Clayton Kershaw and Cole Hamels off-the-board, the Phillies have quite a few left-handed free-agent and trade options to sort through this offseason. Salisbury noted that the Phillies are expected to be interested in free-agent lefties J.A. Happ and Dallas Keuchel. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports said in September that the Phillies have “kept their eyes on” Japanese lefty Yusei Kikuchi, who was posted earlier this week. And former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and Kansas City Royals LHP Danny Duffy are two potential trade targets.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. David S

    November 6, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    The Phillies should be high on everybody that is better than what they currently have.

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