Astros: 3 high-end free agent starters to target

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 4
Houston Astros, Robbie Ray
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

While the only AL Cy Young candidate on the market, Robbie Ray could be highly sought out for a large check.

Robbie Ray had a career-year in Toronto in 2021, while leading the American League in ERA (2.84), games started (32), innings pitched (193.1), ERA+ (154) and WHIP (1.05).

Also, the left-hander led all of Major League Baseball in strikeouts with 248, while having the highest K/9 of all-time (11.2). Ray made only $8 million in Toronto for 2021, but his future contract is projected an annual value of $17,950,424 by Spotrac.

While a lefty, Ray would be the counterpart to Framber Valdez, who produces most of his outs on the ground. The Astros could have two strikeouts pitchers in Ray and McCullers at the top of the rotation followed by a ground ball pitcher in Valdez and a fly ball pitcher in Urquidy with Garcia at the five.

Ray received a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays, and while at a $18.4 million value, the left-hander could likely decline it and find a longer-deal in free agency of more value. Nothing has been reported on whether or not Ray will accept it.