Athletics' Bay Area rivals trade for former Cy Young Winner

The A's Bay Area rival Giants have acquired Robbie Ray from the Mariners
Cleveland Guardians v Seattle Mariners
Cleveland Guardians v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Athletics' Bay Area rival San Francisco Giants have traded for former Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, sending outfielder Mitch Haniger and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani back to Seattle, per Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan.

Ray underwent Tommy John surgery in May of this past year to repair a torn UCL. His timeline to return is still up in the air, but it's likely that he will be back prior to the MLB all-star break.

Ray is guaranteed $23 million in 2024, and has a $50 million player option for 2025-2026. The righty barely pitched in 2023, throwing just 3.1 innings in his lone start. He was effective in 2022, the first year of his free agent deal with Seattle, but wasn't quite as good as he was in his 2021 Cy Young winning campaign.

The Mariners moves this winter haven't been exciting, but it's not really a salary dump from their perspective. Haniger has 2 years and $32 million left on his contract, and DeSclafani is owed $12 million in 2024.

Assuming Haniger stays healthy, which is far from certain based on his history, the move does help solve an outfield problem for the Mariners. Teoscar Hernandez is likely signing elsewhere in free agency and the M's have a need for a corner outfielder.

DeSclafani is an interesting pitcher. He's been mostly effective when healthy, which admittedly hasn't been often the past two seasons. He's thrown a combined 118 innings since the start of 2022. He's posted a 5.70 ERA in those two years, albeit with a FIP closer to 4.50. He's not much of a strikeout pitcher anymore but also allows very few walks.

It's a fair bit of risk for the Mariners, and maybe a bit less so for the Giants. It seems likely that Ray picks up the player option at the end of this year. He'd have to be exceptional in 2024 in order to opt out and become a free agent again.

Outside of the elbow surgery last year, Ray had been a very consistent pitcher. He'd made the full slate of starts in 7 of the prior 8 seasons, pitching to a 3.89 ERA with a 3.00 K/BB rate. He doesn't need to be the Cy Young version of himself for this trade to work out for the Giants.

At the end of the day, it's an interesting deal for both sides. Ray's upside makes it worth it for the Giants, and the Mariners can check off the missing outfielder box on their off-season to-do list.