Chicago Cubs: Predicting what the 2022 starting rotation will look like
Chicago Cubs: Pondering the starting rotation for 2022 – #1: Robbie Ray
Robbie Ray has been nothing short of an ace for the Toronto Blue Jays this year. Thankfully for the Cubs, he is a free agent after this season and assuming the Jays don’t sign him to a contract extension, Ray will be one of the of those pitchers that more than likely won’t land top-tier dollars and therefore 100 percent needs to be on the Cubs’ radar.
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On the season, Ray is enjoying a respectable 10-5 record with even more impressive 2.71 ERA and 3.43 FIP. He currently has an 11.4 strikeout per 9 inning ratio, tallying 202 Ks on the season thus far. A southpaw, Ray spent most of his career with Arizona from 2015-2020 before being traded to Toronto last year.
Like Rodon, Ray has turned a serious corner this year and has found something that works for him. Due to his career ERA being 4.02, he hasn’t necessarily always been ace material like he has for the Blue Jays in 2021.
However, he has pitched 159 1/3 innings on the season. Therefore, coupled with the fact that the AL East is not a weak division by any means, I am confident in the 2021 sample size that Ray has just simply improved as a pitcher. If he falls to free agency, this may be the number one guy the Cubs need to go after to help complete a rebuilding starting rotation.
Adding two key arms with Rodon and Ray, paired with Hendricks, gives you a very solid top 3. If Steele keeps progressing and Thompson can come around out of the five spot, the Cubs might have a solid rotation again as soon as next year. But if the front office instead tries to Frankenstein this thing again, we could be in for another brutal year from the starting five.