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Giants trade Mitch Haniger and Anthony DeSclafani for Robbie Ray

A move!

Profile of Robbie Ray throwing a pitch. Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

After a long stretch of quietness, the San Francisco Giants have finally made a move. It’s even a move to acquire a Cy Young winner, just as many expected! Just not the particular Cy Young winner that most envisioned.

Instead, the Giants are acquiring left-handed starting pitcher Robbie Ray from their best friend in all trades, the Seattle Mariners. In exchange, the Giants are sending right-handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, outfielder Mitch Haniger, and cash considerations to Seattle.

The news comes via ESPN’s Jeff Passan, but was shortly thereafter announced by the Giants.

The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly added some additional information about the money being exchanged:

UPDATE: It’s actually $6 million.

At first glance, this looks like a damn good move for the Giants. They’ve upgraded their rotation and not only did it not cost them any prospects, but it allowed them to unload two of their worst players from 2023.

Haniger, who has two years and $32.5 million remaining on his contract, had an awful debut season with his hometown Giants, hitting just .209/.266/.365, while injuries limited him to just 61 games. He’ll return to a Mariners team that he spent all of his career except 2023 with. DeSclafani, who is owed $12 million in 2024 — the final year of his contract — also struggled with injuries and performance, ending the season with a 4.88 ERA and just 99.2 innings pitched.

All that said, Ray comes with a fair share of question marks himself. He was exceptional in 2021, when he led the American League with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.085 WHIP, led the Majors with 248 strikeouts, and won the Cy Young Award while playing with the Toronto Blue Jays. He turned that into a nice deal with the Mariners, where he was good-not-great in 2022, sporting a 3.71 ERA and a 4.16 FIP, with 212 strikeouts in 189 innings.

Ray, who just turned 32, was injured in his first start of 2023, and underwent Tommy John surgery. Because of the length of that recovery, we won’t see him for a while. At the start of the offseason, the Mariners were publicly targeting sometime around the All-Star break for his return to action. The Giants expect him to be back sometime in the second half of the season.

As such, Ray’s impact on 2024 will be limited, but it certainly helps the Giants roster crunch to trade two players for one — especially two players who were creating logjams given the prospects behind them and the unfortunate play they were contributing.

And Ray figures to contribute beyond 2024, as he’s under contract through the 2026 season, for a total of $73 million. He does have an opt-out after this year, which would allow him to head to free agency instead of cashing in on the final two years and $50 million in the contract.

It can’t be the last move of the offseason, but it sure is a nice bit of news from where I’m sitting.