Traded to Texas as part of the Kevin Millwood deal last offseason, Chris Ray had somewhat of a bounce-back season posting a 3.72 ERA, his lowest since 2006. But the former Orioles closer also posted the lowest strikeout rate of his career, and his strikeout-to-walk rate hovered at an abysmal 1.24. At the end of the season, he was non-tendered by the San Francisco Giants. So what should we expect?
For one, he will probably get a major league job. There are simply too many positives here, even with the declining strikeout rate. He's not too old (29), he used to close, and he was very good at it for a couple of seasons. He still throws very hard and he had a sub-4.00 ERA last season. His career ERA is 4.02.
Secondly, he could be pretty solid. I don't like that strikeout-to-walk rate. I don't like that FIP. I don't like that he didn't dominate hitters last year, especially given his poor control. But he still throws just as hard as ever, and one season of poor strikeout numbers does not make him a poor strikeout pitcher. He's also always outperformed his fielding independent numbers.
Ray is a low risk, low reward kind of signing. Despite what he did in Baltimore, he just doesn't have the skill set to be a closer. But he'll also be a cheap and a potentially solid middle reliever. He throws hard, usually strikes batters out, and has had a pretty nice career. Worth a shot.
Prediction: Minor league deal.