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Phillies rumor: Robbie Ray trade realistic after Bumgarner signing

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park September 22, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park September 22, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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A guy who has constantly been on the Phillies rumor mill is available

A Phillies rumor involving Robbie Ray? Who would have thought?

After the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Madison Bumgarner to a five year deal worth $85 million, several national and local insiders have suggested that the 28-year-old lefty Ray will be even more available this offseason than he’s been for the last year and a half.

Despite being up against the luxury tax and already adding Zack Wheeler, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said publically Monday morning that the team will continue to look for starting rotation help. After Wade Miley signed a two year deal with Cincinnati, making a trade for Ray is even more likely.

Ray is in his final year of arbitration eligibility and projects to make nearly $11 million next season, according to Spotrac. Klentak acknowledged that the Phillies are close to the luxury tax and will go over the threshold if the move gives them a better chance to win a World Series.

Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies /

Philadelphia Phillies

After setting a career-high with 235 strikeouts Ray is essentially on a one-year deal in 2020, auditioning for what should be a very lucrative free agent deal next offseason. He’d be among a crop of some very good starting pitchers potentially available next season, including Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Zimmerman, Jake Odorizzi, Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana, Mike Minor, and Chris Archer.

This season Ray needs to set himself apart from that crop of pitchers and moving to a very competitive division could give him the outlet to do so.

Philadelphia could offload some money in the deal to ease the burden of the luxury tax. Arizona needs an outfielder, but they’re unlikely to touch Odubel Herrera given his contract and off the field situation.

Vince Velasquez projects to earn around $4 million in arbitration and has another year of team control for 2021. Arizona could see his untapped potential at a reasonable price as a valuable piece alongside Bumgarner and Zac Gallen in their rotation.

Philadelphia’s farm system isn’t strong, and they likely won’t move top prospects Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard in this deal. This could complicate the deal, but there are some high-ceiling pieces such as Adonis Medina, Mickey Moniak, and Jhaylin Ortiz the Diamondbacks could gamble on.

This deal makes too much sense for the Phillies if they can get the money to work right, and it could set them up for what should be a very competitive division race.