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Add Chris Ray To The Pile

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He's the latest to sign a minor league contract with the Mariners with an invitation to Spring Training. As a reliever, he gets to join that giant pool of potential relievers that I listed yesterday, and while he has better odds than some, he has worse odds than others. One possibility is that he could break camp with the team on a temporary basis such that Dan Cortes and/or Josh Lueke begin in the minors for service time reasons, but there are a million different ways the team could go with the bullpen so I'm not going to bother with a prediction.

It's worth noting that, while a lot of people identify Chris Ray as a guy with two first names, he's Christopher Thomas Ray by birth. So he actually has three first names.

The other stuff worth knowing is that Ray's a 29-year-old righty who used to close for the Orioles. Other guys who used to close for the Orioles this past decade include Jorge Julio, Ryan Kohlmeier, and Buddy Groom, so it's not like that's an honor that went to just anyone. Ray was fairly effective in the role before undergoing Tommy John Surgery in the middle of 2007 that knocked him out for a year and a half. He's come back to throw 99 big league innings since, but while his repertoire remains mostly intact, his results have been poor. Which is why a 29-year-old former closer just signed a minor league contract with a team that lost 101 games.

Ray's got a fastball in the mid-90s, a slider in the mid-80s, and a curveball in the high-70s, all thrown from a low arm angle. At the best of times, he was good against righties and trouble against lefties. These haven't been the best of times, so more recently he's been okay against righties and awful against lefties. If I sound really down on him, it's because last season he was bad, and the season before that he was also kind of bad, but in Ray's defense, he still has the weapons, and in the Mariners' defense, a minor league contract is risk-free. Ray'll stand a chance of making the team if he's good, and he won't if he's not. When you think of it that way, hey, all right.

Just as one final fun fact, Baseball-Reference pulls up a player return for "Chris Ray," and it pulls up another player return for "Ray Chris". So that's something.