Robbie Ray: Seattle Mariners sign top free agent for $115m

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Ray takes home his second Cy Young award in 2018

The Seattle Mariners have signed top pitcher Robbie Ray to a five-year, $115m, (about £92m) deal.

The move ends talks with Ray and fellow free agent Nick Tropeano, who had been seen as two of the teams top ‘slugs’ – players who could hit 19-20 home runs.

Seattle could now be ready to make moves, a source told ESPN.

Manager Scott Servais has warned the Mariners could “over-spend” to help their fan base.

“I’ve told them we’ll stick to our plan, but if that means over-spending a little bit to meet our needs, we’ll do that,” he said.

During the past two off-seasons, Seattle signed Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, the former breaking the all-time single-season home run record with 42.

Alex Wood, another new acquisition, also set a franchise record for strikeouts with 196.

‘The best free-agent class’

In the past two off-seasons, Seattle has been linked with pitchers Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn and Kyle Freeland.

Acquiring all three would likely run into budgetary limitations, with budget ceiling keeping the club from acquiring more than three players.

The signings of Ray and Tropeano put them within striking distance of a move for a No. 4 starter, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.

“One very popular theory among scouts, at least for Ray, is that some of his stunning numbers are the product of an inexperienced outfield and not enough starting pitching around him,” wrote Brown.

“If that is the case, Seattle may have already made his adjustment to life in Seattle, and it will be just a matter of what position can fill out that bullpen to fulfill Ray’s potential.”

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