The Yankees have hinted they want to add a pitcher by the trade deadline and there is a starter in Arizona who could be a potential target.
Robbie Ray has struck out 129 batters in 98 1/3 innings this year and that alone could be enough to pique the Yankees’ interest.
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And, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the team has been interested in the lefty before.
Rosenthal wrote in his Wednesday column:
Ray has alternated between being very good and just OK for the last few years.
He was fantastic in 2017, going 15-5 with 218 strikeouts in 162 innings, but he threw just 123 2/3 innings last year and posted a 3.93 ERA. Then, this season his earned run average is 4.10. He has also averaged four walks per nine innings in his career.
Those aren’t numbers that mirror that of Max Scherzer or even Ray’s teammate Zack Greinke, but they do present an interesting possibility for the Yankees in a couple of ways.
For one, the team has such a deep bullpen, New York could use Ray as a two-times-through-the-lineup starter and get him out routinely in the fifth or sixth inning. Ray holds batters to a .210 batting average in a player’s first at-bat and .221 in his second, but it goes up to .291 the third time a player sees him.
Getting him out of a game early and getting the ball to the bullpen could work very well for New York. At the same time, as Rosenthal suggests, the Yankees could use him as a high-strikeout, middle-inning reliever.
Both scenarios are enticing. We’ll see if they are appealing enough to get the Yankees to pursue him.
Ray has one year of arbitration left after this season, so he likely will not demand the same return as Matt Boyd of the Tigers.