The Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to acquire left-handed starter Robbie Ray (and cash considerations) from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the 2020 MLB trade deadline, according to Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun. Arizona will receive left-hander Travis Bergen in return, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
Ray, 28, is scheduled to hit free agency after the season. He's had a miserable year to date: in seven starts, he's posted a 7.84 ERA that has been fueled by him issuing 31 free passes in 31 innings. Ray's troubles have coincided with the introduction of a new, shorter arm stroke. Here's part of what we wrote about his alteration earlier in the year:
Ray evidently wasn't satisfied with the status quo, however. As a result, he redesigned his arm action, shortening it in a way that's consistent with others who have broken out in recent years, such as Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito. (Those familiar with pitching instructor Dave Coggin might recognize Ray's new arm action as being similar to the so-called "pocket path.") It was a risky maneuver, given his past, his looming free agency, and the difficulty that comes with committing a delivery to muscle memory.
Toronto general manager Ross Atkins is banking on his coaching staff's ability to help Ray locate with more consistency. That might be a tall ask, considering he's thrown just 55 percent strikes this season, well below the league-average mark (typically 62 to 63 percent).
Ray is the second starter the Blue Jays have acquired in the past week, joining right-hander Taijuan Walker. Toronto currently has three starters on the injured list, including top youngster Nate Pearson and veteran Matt Shoemaker.
Bergen, who will turn 27 in late October, has made 22 big-league appearances to date. His numbers haven't impressed, but in his one performance this season he showed improved velocity and spin. He profiles as a reliever.