Cincinnati Reds: 3 best trades under Dick Williams

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 16: Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams looks on prior to a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park on June 16, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Dodgers defeated the Reds 3-1. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 16: Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams looks on prior to a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park on June 16, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Dodgers defeated the Reds 3-1. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Minnesota Twins.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 27: Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Minnesota Twins on September 27, 2020 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

2. Reds trade Shed Long to the Yankees for Sonny Gray and Reiver Sanmartin.

New York isn’t for everyone. Following the 2018 season, both Sonny Gray and the Yankees were willing to mutually end their troubled relationship. Despite building a solid résumé as a member of the Oakland A’s, going 44-36 with a 3.42 ERA, Gray never seemed comfortable in the Big Apple.

Acquired by the Yankees at the trade deadline during the 2017 season, Sonny Gray went just 15-16 while compiling a 4.51 ERA in 41 games and 34 as a starter. The Bronx Bombers had lost so much confidence in Gray they left him off their 2018 postseason roster. A parting of the ways was nearly inevitable.

Give the Reds and Dick Williams credit for a willingness to gamble that Sonny Gray could return to his pre-New York self. Gray has more than rebounded since arriving in Cincinnati. On January 21, 2019, the Reds traded for Gray and he’s pitching the best ball of his career.

In 42 starts for the Redlegs, Gray is 16-11 with an impressive 3.07 ERA. Tossing 231.1 innings Gray has whiffed an astounding 277 hitters. Additionally, he earned his second All-Star selection while finishing seventh in the Cy Young voting following the 2019 season.

This was another instance in which Dick Williams was willing to part with a highly rated left-handed-hitting prospect. Shed Long was the No. 7 ranked prospect in the Cincinnati organization and seemed destined to be the heir apparent to Scooter Gennett at second base before being dealt to the Yankees.

However,  Long was a member of the Yankees for just a few hours before being sent to the Seattle Mariners in another trade. Since landing in Seattle, the 24-year-old has made his MLB debut and is slashing .223/.294/.383 through his first 269 at-bats as a member of the Mariners.

As far as the other player in the deal, left-handed pitcher Reiver Sanmartin has made 25 starts in the Reds organization at the Single-A and Double-A levels, posting a 4-12 record with a 5.37 ERA. The 24-year-old southpaw is currently not among the top 30 prospects in the Reds organization.