Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi explained his reasoning behind acquiring former AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray from the Seattle Mariners on Friday.
When asked if one of the main motivators for the trade was to create roster flexibility in the event that the Giants make more moves this offseason, Zaidi acknowledged that benefit during a conference call with reporters.
“I think for us, Robbie and the long-term vision of him being a tandem at the top of our rotation with Logan Webb was the No. 1 motivation but some of the flexibility it creates for opportunities internally and a little bit more maneuverability in terms of other free agent moves or trade acquisitions we’re looking at is certainly part of it,” Zaidi said.
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The trade sent left-fielder Mitch Haniger and starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani to the Mariners in exchange for Ray, who still is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and likely won't return until midway through the upcoming 2024 MLB season.
Considering how quickly this trade for Ray came together, it is conceivable that the Giants are not done making moves this offseason, something Zaidi pointed out could be a possibility.
When asked if it’s possible that Mitch Haniger will not be the only outfielder traded before the start of the season, Zaidi noted that while they like their current roster, they are still looking to fill other positions.
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“We like the group that we have, we can certainly go into the season with it, but one of our areas of need still is probably adding to the infield, upgrading our infield defense," Zaidi told reporters. "So, it’s always possible that there is a trade that lines up that way. But as it stands now, I think we like our outfield group, we’d be fine going into the year with it. We could still move somebody, frankly, we could still add somebody to that mix with Mitch being traded today. So a lot of things [are] still on the table there but the most direct answer to your question I can give is that it doesn’t mean our outfield is set and there won’t be any more moves on that front.”
The Giants are looking to vault themselves back into NL West contention, and a healthy Ray could do just that. During his 2021 Cy Young season in Toronto, Ray led the American League in ERA (2.84), strikeouts (248), innings pitched (193 1/3) and WHIP (1.04).
With the Dodgers' recent signings of Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, they will be the heavy favorites to win the division again. The Arizona Diamondbacks, who were an 2022 NL Wild Card team and reached the World Series, are expected to be Los Angeles' toughest competition in the NL West.
A healthy Ray plus Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee could help close the gap on the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, and the signing of veteran manager Bob Melvin should stabilize a young and talented roster. But the Giants still have work to do and Friday's trade might allow them to accomplish that.
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