While simulating the offseason as part of the FanSided Offseason Simulation, we made four trades, which we’ll document and explain in consecutive posts. The second trade was as follows:
LHP Robbie Ray ($6.1MM)
Hayes is the player that moved the needle here. He’s moved steadily through the Pittsburgh system, succeeding at every stop. In 2018, he hit .293/.375/.444 in Double-A Altoona as a 21-year-old with solid defensive marks at third base. Starting the 2020 season with Pavin Smith and Ke’Bryan Hayes on the infield corners would be a great way to launch the next generation of Diamondbacks stars.
Of course, this is a fake trade, so it’s not the particular player so much as what he represents. A Top-50 offensive prospect with two solid arms, one of whom is relatively close to the majors and coming off a solid season (Escobar) – this is the kind of return the Diamondbacks would feel good about for Ray. Stocking the system with high-potential arms will be an imperative to building the next winner in Arizona.
Granted, trading Ray this season has its downside. He’s only 26, and with two years of arb-eligibility left, he could very well be pitching atop the rotation for the next winner in Arizona.
Still, 2017 was the only season in which he accumulated more than 2 rWAR, he is becoming expensive at $6.1MM with one arb year left, and he’s never eclipsed 175 innings in a season. He value is lower now than it was last season, but if GM Mike Hazen can find a deal similar to this one, I’d bite.
Without another top-of-the-line pitcher like Carrasco in-house, a Ray deal, IRL, is unlikely. His upside, however, is tantalizing, and if there’s a team like the Pirates who are eager to contend, Ray will be highly sought after as a solid alternative to expensive free agent options like Corbin and Dallas Keuchel.
Consider this, cutting the $6.1MM owed to Ray would help a tight Arizona payroll situation, but in our simulation, Corbin went to the White Sox for five years, $150MM, while Keuchel went to the Nationals for 5 years, $110MM. That’s an AAV of $30MM and $22MM, respectively, for two pitchers in their thirties. If the Diamondbacks hold off until those guys are off the board IRL, there might be a move like this to be made.
Once we made this fake trade of Robbie Ray, it began to feel more and more like the Arizona Diamondbacks would be heading for a full-on rebuild, but the Offseason Simulation was still only halfway through and there were many moves yet to be made.