The Seattle Mariners are tired of missing the postseason.
Despite a strong showing in 2021, the organization hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001.
But in 2022, it looks that could change.
The Mariners made their first big move of the offseason over the weekend by acquiring Adam Frazier, and they made an even bigger splash on Monday.
Robbie Ray will spend the next few seasons in Seattle, according to reports.
Reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray and the Seattle Mariners are finalizing a five-year, $115 million contract with an opt-out after the third season, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021
This is obviously a blockbuster signing for the Mariners.
They’re getting one of the top pitchers on the free-agent market, and Ray could easily be the guy that puts Seattle over the top and into the playoffs.
Here’s What The Mariners Are Getting In Ray
In 2021, Ray established himself as an elite arm.
He took home AL Cy Young honors after leading the league in a handful of categories.
He posted league-bests in ERA (2.84), strikeouts (248), ERA+ (154), and WHIP (1.05).
Here is our newest Seattle Mariners and reigning AL CY Young award winner Robbie Ray welcome to Seattle!
— George Jarjour (@GeorgeOnTap) November 29, 2021
The lefty also racked up a massive bWAR of 6.7, which helped him finish 15th in the MVP race.
Ray’s dominant season was a very surprising development, as he entered the 2021 season with a career ERA of 4.26.
But it seems like he has turned a corner, and the Mariners are betting that the 30-year-old will pitch like his 2021-self going forward.
If he does, Seattle is going to be in great shape to end its playoff drought.
That’s a thrilling thought for fans.
Projecting Seattle’s 2022 Rotation
We still have a long way to go until Opening Day, but let’s take a stab at predicting Seattle’s 2022 rotation.
Ray easily becomes the staff ace.
Gilbert posted a 4.68 ERA and 3.73 FIP in his rookie season in 2021.
Flexen pitched to a 3.61 ERA and 3.89 FIP.
Gonzales maintained a 3.96 ERA despite a 5.28 FIP.
And Dunn showed lots of promise over 11 starts before injuries got in the way, managing a 3.75 ERA and 4.74 FIP.
At its best, this could be a great staff.
At its worst, it could be mediocre.
Maybe the Mariners should continue exploring the free-agent market to see if they can sign one more arm for an upgrade, but even if they don’t, they’re going to enter 2022 with a very intriguing rotation on paper.
The Mariners won 90 games in 2021, but it wasn’t quite enough to secure a playoff bid.
But they’re only getting better, and it’s starting to look like the sky is the limit for this organization.
The AL West is always tough, and that’ll likely remain the case in 2022, but this Seattle squad is definitely going to challenge for the division crown.
Robbie Ray to Mariners is big. AL West could be loads of fun next season.
— Dave Cokin (@davecokin) November 29, 2021
At worst, the Mariners might end up with a Wild Card spot.
Of course, the games are played for a reason, and we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
But folks in Seattle have every reason to be optimistic about this club.
Time will tell how the rest of the offseason unfolds, then it’s onto 2022 to see if the franchise can end the longest playoff drought in North American pro sports.NEXT: Adam Frazier Looking For A Fresh Start In Seattle