Top suitor emerges for free agent pitcher Sonny Gray, and it's not the Reds

Sonny Gray could be the next starter signed in free agency.
Minnesota Twins pitcher Sonny Gray
Minnesota Twins pitcher Sonny Gray / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

If the Cincinnati Reds continue to drag their feet, they're going to be left in the dust. The Philadelphia Phillies re-signed Aaron Nola to a seven-year contract on Sunday, and former Reds pitcher Sonny Gray is being courted by another NL East club.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Atlanta Braves have emerged as the top suitor for Gray after the team missed on signing Nola away from the Phillies.

It was also rumored earlier today that the Los Angeles Dodgers are in trade talks with the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Dylan Cease. Reds President of Baseball Operations may need to start working the phone a little harder, as the market for starting pitching could dry up very quickly.

Braves emerge as top suitor for former Reds pitcher Sonny Gray

There are several reasons the Cincinnati Reds may have little to no interest in bringing Sonny Gray back to the Queen City. With a Qualifying Offer attached to his signing, the team who inks Gray to a new deal will have to sacrifice a draft pick. For the Reds, it would be their third-highest selection in the 2024 MLB Draft.

There's also Gray's age to consider. While the right-hander put up All-Star numbers and finished second in the AL Cy Young voting during the 2023 season, the fact of the matter is that Gray is heading into his age 34 season and likely to land a three or four-year deal.

With an average annual value of $20-plus million, it's highly unlikely Cincinnati would be wanting to shell out that kind of money when Gray is 36 or 37 years old.

So while the Atlanta Braves are in the driver's seat, these developments today should jumpstart the Reds' efforts to secure at least one starting pitcher. Players like Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo, both of whom are free agents, fit the mold of what the Reds are likely looking for this offseason.

The MLB Winter Meetings are still over a week away, and there's already a lot of action taking place this offseason. Once these signing start, they're not going to slow down until the well is empty. Hopefully the Reds dip their bucket into the well before it runs dry.