1. Sonny Gray, Reds right-handed pitcher
Let’s get this one out of the way. If Sonny Gray is part of the Cincinnati Reds on April 1st, there’s a high probability he’ll take the ball on Opening Day for the second consecutive season. While Luis Castillo might have something to say about that, Gray and Castillo are essentially interchangeable as the team’s ace.
Gray’s name has popped up in trade rumors for the past couple weeks, and there’s good reason for it. While a lot of Reds faithful may question the front office’s motives for wanting to deal a pitcher of Gray’s caliber, it all comes down to what Cincinnati can get in return.
We recently saw the Cincinnati Reds trade Raisel Iglesias to the Los Angeles Angels for what amounted to a salary dump. That’s not said to insult the two players (Noé Ramirez and shortstop prospect Leonardo Rivas) Cincinnati received in return. But there’s no way Nick Krall would trade Gray for such a measly return.
With the free agent market void of top-tier starting pitching outside of Trevor Bauer, teams are looking to fill out their starting rotation with a player of Gray’s caliber. Gray, along with Tampa Bay Rays’ starter Blake Snell, are top-of-the-rotation starters on affordable contracts. They’re in demand, and Krall should listen to any and all offers.
That said, in the end, if Cincinnati’s ownership and front office are serious about contending in 2021 and beyond, Sonny Gray needs to be part of the starting rotation. He, along with Castillo, give the Reds a stellar one-two punch.