The latest Reds rumors involve a familiar name. Sonny Gray has popped up yet again. Trade talks involving the right-hander are said to be “ramping up”.
This offseason has seen a lot of Reds rumors. A name that Cincinnati Reds fans have heard since the season ended has popped up yet again. The New York Yankees continue to dangle Sonny Gray as a possible trade target for several pitching-starved teams. Gray’s name surfaced yet again as a possible move that the Reds could make before the start of the 2019 season.
Much of yesterday’s rumor mill centered around a possible trade between Cleveland, San Diego, and Cincinnati that would bring Corey Kluber to the Queen City; a move certainly met with excitement and controversy as it would most likely mean parting ways with the highly thought of Nick Senzel.
For several weeks, it is thought that it is down to a two-team race for starting left-handed pitcher, Dallas Keuchel, as the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies are both vying for his services. However, let us once again explore the Sonny Gray rumblings and what they could mean for the Reds.
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A few months back I was very much all for the Sonny Gray trade. As recent as six weeks ago I still felt that Gray would be a good, not great, addition to the Reds starting staff. Good from the extent that he would bring a plethora of MLB experience to Cincinnati after pitching in a pressure cooker atmosphere in Yankee Stadium over the past season and a half.
My “being all in” for landing Gray was before the trades for Tanner Roark and Alex Wood. The Wood trade, in particular, is one that I never imagined that the Cincinnati Reds front office would’ve been able to pull off. That certainly changed the complexion as to the quality of pitching the Reds would move on as part of the quest to upgrade starting pitching for the 2019 season.
Sonny Gray recently settled at $7.5M in salary arbitration. At that price, Gray would be a nice option as a fifth starter in Cincinnati. Another factor to consider should the Reds make this move, is that he would be reunited with his former college pitching coach, Derek Johnson. There would be natural intrinsic value by the mentor-mentee reunion.
While his 2018 ERA with the Yankees was 4.90, it was an intriguing 3.17 away from Yankee Stadium. Was the big stage just too big for Gray? Would a mid-market MLB team closer to his Nashville home be a much more conducive environment for the former Oakland A’s first round draft pick?
Could the change in scenery combined with a reunion with his former Vandy pitching coach enable Gray to regain his form that enabled him to go 44-36 with a 3.42 ERA during five seasons in Oakland? Seemingly more questions than answers for sure. Nonetheless, per Jon Heyman of Fancred, the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees are definitely still in talks.
It is no secret that Yankees GM Brian Cashman overvalues his players. It is thought that Cashman is seeking Tony Santillan, Vladimir Gutierrez, or perhaps Keury Mella. Many will cringe, including myself, at the notion of sending either Santillan or Gutierrez to New York for Gray, especially with both having the capabilities of taking the leap to Cincinnati later in 2019.
Other highly rated arms in the Reds minor league system include Lyon Richardson, Ryan Olson, and Jose Lopez. These three pitchers are all options to explore should the Reds find that they cannot live with Gray. With the Yankees being motivated to move Gray, it should not require moving Santillan, Gutierrez or even Mella to get this deal across the finish line.
Again, there have not been many dull moments in this version of the Cincinnati Reds offseason. The Reds rumors have been hot and heavy all winter. It is exciting to think about the possibilities of what this upgraded pitching staff combined with such as lethal lineup will be able to do in the 2019 season.
It is now down to if the Reds will go the free agency route to add that third starting pitcher or if a modest trade, such as one with the Yankees to bring Sonny Gray to Cincinnati will be the path they follow. Don’t shoot the messenger this time around. We are simply looking at how the pieces could fit.