San Francisco Giants Trade for Robbie Ray

by Corey Pieper
Robbie Ray San Francisco Giants

Early Friday afternoon, the San Francisco Giants made a trade with the Seattle Mariners for starting pitcher Robbie Ray.  The full details of the trade were released on X by Jeff Passan.

The Seattle Mariners also completed another less-heralded trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Mariners may have read my article on the Jarred Kelenic trade from a month ago. In that piece, I mentioned how the Mariners in-house options were uninspiring. Today, they went out and acquired two outfielders, Mitch Haniger and Luke Raley, who I think are likely to be the Opening Day starters in the corner outfield positions.

The team also acquired right-handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani in the trade with the Giants. The team still has a very solid starting five with Luis Castillo, George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, Bryan Woo, and Bryce Miller. Notably, neither Woo nor Miller has ever reached even 135 innings. I expect that DeSclafani will operate as a swing starter to help limit the workloads of some of their young pitchers.

San Francisco Giants Trade for Robbie Ray

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Mitch Haniger's Impact with the Seattle Mariners

Outfielder Mitch Haniger returns to Seattle where he had his most productive seasons. Flukey injuries often were the culprit preventing him from having even more productive seasons.

On a per-game basis, he put together some very useful fantasy numbers. 2021 was the best season of his career. It was also one of his two healthy seasons. In that season, he set career highs in runs scored, home runs, and RBI. Those totals were 110 runs scored, 39 home runs, and 100 RBI.  He even maintained a respectable 253 average. Excitement was high heading into 2022.

Unfortunately, his 2022 season only consisted of 57 games played. The majority of his missed time was due to a high-ankle sprain but there was also a bout of Covid as well that cost him time. When he played, he was still very usable and was actually on a very similar prorated pace to his breakout 2021. In only 57 games, he had 11 home runs, 31 runs and 34 RBI. The Giants felt good enough about his health to sign him to a two-year contract.

He only played one season in San Francisco before being returned to Seattle. Yet again, his season was decimated by injuries. Just last season Haniger missed time with elbow issues, an oblique strain, and back spasms. It led him to only being able to play 61 games. For the first time, his per-game production also took a notable step back. He was only able to score 27 runs, hit six home runs, and drive in 28 runs. He also hit a paltry 209.

It's a big "IF", but if Haniger can stay healthy there is no reason to think that he can't play every day. An everyday Haniger could at least be an option as a late power source in a five-outfielder league.

Robbie Ray's Impact with the San Francisco Giants

Robbie Ray's 2023 season consisted of a total of 3 innings pitched on March 31st. He missed the remainder of the season with flexor tendon surgery and Tommy John surgery. It was a massive disappointment for fantasy owners as Ray had been a reliable innings-eating option.

I searched for an update on how his rehab was going. The update which I gleaned the most information from was from the Seattle Times.  That article was from early October when the team was optimistic about a return in 2024 after the All-Star break.

When Ray does pitch, he has a skill set that leads to strikeouts. If you don't the three innings from last season, Ray has struck out over 10 batters per nine innings the previous seven seasons! He struck out over 200 batters in four of his last five full seasons, including 2021 when he led the league with 248 strikeouts! He also led the league in ERA and WHIP that season which led to a near-unanimous Cy Young Award.

Even if he is only able to pitch sparingly this season, the move still makes sense from a San Francisco Giants perspective. Ray is under contract through the 2026 season at a very affordable 25 million dollars per season. The Giants are hoping that their 2025 rotation is anchored at the top by Logan Webb, Robbie Ray, and Kyle Harrison.

Final Thoughts on Trade

The NFBC average draft position for both of these players is understandably very low. Mitch Haniger has a current ADP of 611. That means that in a 15-team league, he is going in the 41st round. When you participate in a 50-round draft-and-hold format league, you learn that whoever gets the most at-bats often wins the league. Four out of the five traditional offensive rotisserie categories are directly tied to volume in runs, home runs, RBI, and stolen bases.

If Haniger can stay healthy and play every day, he'll smash through that ADP value. There are so many question marks though. I think that his ADP will rise some, but still probably finishes after the top 500 overall.

Robbie Ray has an even later ADP of 650. That is round 44 which means that there are plenty of 50-round drafts where he is going undrafted. I completely understand that. His current Steamer projection is for 21 innings. The biggest optimists can hope for 50 innings. If I have to hope and pray for 50 innings, I'm just going to pass myself.

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