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Reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray agrees to $115 million deal with Mariners, who aim to end playoff drought

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After years of drifting in baseball limbo, the Seattle Mariners moved decisively toward trying to end Major League Baseball's longest playoff drought.

The Mariners reached agreement Monday on a five-year, $115 million contract with reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, giving their rotation a definitive ace after a season in which they narrowly missed out on a wild-card spot.

Ray, 30, completed a remarkable two-year resurgence with the Toronto Blue Jays by leading the AL in ERA (2.84), strikeouts (248), innings pitched (193 1/3) and WHIP (1.05) to claim his first Cy Young Award. The Blue Jays, though, agreed to terms Sunday with right-hander Kevin Gausman on a five-year, $110 million deal and the Mariners quickly pivoted toward the best lefty on the market.

Robbie Ray had a 2.84 ERA last season as he won the AL Cy Young.
Robbie Ray had a 2.84 ERA last season as he won the AL Cy Young.

A baseball official with direct knowledge of the agreement confirmed that Ray will sign with the Mariners. The official spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the deal is not yet finalized.

Ray will helm a Mariners rotation that previously was topped by another left-hander, Marco Gonzales, who is 47-31 in five seasons in Seattle. The club also received 179 2/3 innings from righty Chris Flexen in 2021, during which they won 90 games and finished two games behind wild-card participants Boston and New York.

Ray's signing marks the biggest investment for Seattle since it signed second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million deal before the 2014 season. Cano was traded to the New York Mets in a package including rookie outfielder Jarred Kelenic, part of a young core that is ready to roll after a methodical and often frustrating rebuild in Seattle.

With fellow outfield prospect Julio Rodriguez expected to be ready in 2022 along with young right-hander Logan Gilbert, who made 24 starts in 2021, it's finally go time. And nothing says that quite like adding a Cy Young winner to the stable.

Contributing: Bob Nightengale

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Robbie Ray, Mariners agree to five-year deal for AL Cy Young winner