Well, the Athletics are definitely shooting for the stars in their rebuilding efforts. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Athletics are interested in the Braves' top prospect, outfielder Ronald Acuña, in exchange for ace Sonny Gray.
Acuña was just named the 8th-best prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com, whose updated rankings were released today. He’s already in AAA at just 19 years of age, and across three levels this season, he’s batting .310 with an .876 OPS to go along with 15 homers and 17 steals.
Gray, who starts tonight for the A’s against the Blue Jays in Toronto, has bounced back from a rough 2016, entering this evening’s game with a 3.66 ERA, 8.4 K/9 and 1.176 WHIP in 15 starts. While those are solid numbers, they’re still a far cry from the stats that earned Gray third place in Cy Young balloting two seasons ago.
Thus, it’s definitely quite a lot for the Athletics to ask for Gray, even one-on-one, and even though Gray is team-controlled through 2019. There’s no doubt that Braves could be contenders by the time Gray’s contract is up. But, they view Acuña as a part of those plans to contend, and trading him away for less than two-and-a-half years of a pitcher who’s more of a No. 2 or 1A than a true ace is risky at best and entirely foolish at worst.