The Oakland Athletics may still be looking at the possibility of dealing the ace of their pitching staff according to a report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
During Gray’s last start on Wednesday, the Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins, and St. Louis Cardinals all had scouts in attendance according to the report. With all of those teams looking to add pitching depth, there’s little doubt that there eyes were on Gray.
That being said, many could have been playing double duty as on the other side of the bump for the Minnesota Twins was Ervin Santana, who is also rumored to be available. With the Twins in a more clear sell situation than the Athletics, and with Santana being quite a bit more expendable, the focus on Gray might have been a bit diminished.
What complicates matters though, is that executives from other teams also believe that David Forst and the rest of the Athletics’ front office are willing to trade Gray according to Slusser:
“There is thought among some executives that with Oakland well out of the race for the second season in a row, the A’s might be persuaded to do so.”
The Athletics are always a difficult team to predict, so there’s a lot to parse. First of all, Gray would likely be the most tantalizing pitching target on the board if he is actually made available. Therefore, the A’s would likely require a King’s ransom.
Second, the Athletics may be hesitant to trade away another star after the Josh Donaldson deal. While Franklin Barreto may end up being a mainstay on the major league roster, trading away a cornerstone piece like Donaldson has certainly been felt by the A’s. That could definitely give the front office pause while waiting for the right deal.
Compounding matters further, is Gray has had his share of struggles this year. While he may be the best option on the board, teams may not be willing to pay the steep price to attain him if they feel his struggles are real. Through 90.2 innings pitched this season, Gray has allowed 52 earned runs on 99 hits and 34 walks while striking out 72. Of course, he has been coping with some injury trouble, so perhaps some of his struggles can be attributed to that.
Whether Gray actually gets dealt prior to the deadline or not is still up in the air. However, with reports like these, one can expect his name to remain in the rumors for the foreseeable future. Gray is eligible for arbitration until the conclusion of the 2019 season.