When the New York Yankees struck a deal minutes before the 2017 MLB Trade Deadline with the Oakland Athletics, they thought they were getting a proven fifth-year major-leaguer who could produce multiple 15-win seasons. That’s not exactly how it turned out.
Once Sonny Gray was shipped off to New York, things went down hill. With the Yankees, Gray finished his 2017 season with a 4-7 record with a 3.72 ERA. Through 11 appearances, he threw 65.1 innings, surrendering 27 earned runs on 55 hits. He walked 27 and struck out 59.
This past season, his record improved to 11-9 through 30 starts, but his ERA escalated to 4.90. He recorded greater than 30 less innings than he had recorded in 2017, and yet his hits allowed total was just one less. He allowed more runs, the same amount of walks, and less strikeouts.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman announced at the team’s end-of-season press conference that he will consider trading Gray for “his sake and for ours.”
Yankees are open-minded to trading Sonny Gray, says Brian Cashman. pic.twitter.com/CbezfLuhRQ— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 12, 2018
Because of this, many teams will be checking in on the price-tag for Gray.
One team that could have interest in a trade for Gray are the San Diego Padres. Their starting rotation would definitely benefit from an addition of a pitcher who has spent many seasons in the majors. Starters Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer are returning to the rotation for the 2019 season, while Clayton Richard an Brian Mitchell are also likely to play for San Diego next year. Their bountiful farm system includes guys like Cal Quantrill, Logan Allen, Chris Paddack, Jacob Nix, Robbie Erlin and Matt Strahm. Many of those players haven’t proven themselves as MLB-ready as Gray. It seems as though San Diego should check in on the Yankees’ plans for Gray and make a reasonable offer.
The Los Angeles Angels should also pick up the phone and call Brian Cashman. The Halos know Gray all too well from when he was with the Athletics, and they had to face him several times in crucial AL West matchups. When he was with the Athletics, Gray faced the Angels 14 times, allowing just 33 runs, which equates to an average of 2.35 runs per start. Although New York’s asking price will be high, it will be reasonably lower than the A’s asking price when they shopped Gray in 2017. Perhaps the Angels could send New York a MLB-ready prospect with high upside, so they can temporarily fill the hole that recently belonged to Did Gregorius, who will have Tommy John surgery.
Another suitor for Sonny Gray could be the Cincinnati Reds. Although it seems like they wouldn’t want to trade for just one year of Sonny Gray, they still might. Their starting rotation has struggled, but if they can pick up a proven starter and a few other valuable assets, they could have the potential to make it into the postseason. To get Gray, the Reds would need New York to chip in to help cover Gray’s contract, which expires after the 2019 season. To entice the Yankees, it seems as if all the Reds would need to do is send a fair prospect back to New York.
One more team that could be in on the Sonny Gray sweepstakes are the Milwaukee Brewers. Of the four teams mentioned in this article as candidates to trade for Gray, the Brewers make the most sense because they have the best chance of playing baseball deep into October. After their season ended in game seven of the NLCS this past season, they will do all they can to improve their team and prepare for a deep run into the 2019 postseason. Although Milwaukee’s starting rotation isn’t necessarily their Achilles’ heel, it could still use some help. Among other things, solidifying the bullpen with guys who can consistently pitch deep into games is what Milwaukee needs to edge out their competition, return to the NLCS, and perhaps even advance to the World Series.
Although Brian Cashman hadn’t participated in any major trade discussions when the Yankees were eliminated by the Red Sox in the ALDS, he told the media that he would try to find a new team for Gray. As the MLB offseason and free agency gets underway, keep an eye out for more Sonny Gray rumors.