Plenty of fans throughout Reds Country have their opinion about whether or not Cincinnati should pursue a reunion with Sonny Gray this offseason. There's merit on both sides of the argument.
Those who want to Gray back in the Queen City will point to stats from last season, which include a very high ground ball-rate, his past performance with the club, leadership in the clubhouse, and other essential qualities that the Cincinnati Reds should be looking for.
Those who'd prefer the Reds avoid re-signing Gray will point to his age (34), contract demands, and injury history. But one thing that's of note is the Qualifying Offer Gray rejected from the Minnesota Twins this offseason.
Why rejecting the Qualifying Offer shouldn't deter the Reds from signing Sonny Gray
The Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to Sonny Gray several times throughout the offseason. If those two franchises have their eye on the All-Star starter, teams like the Cincinnati Reds should as well.
However, the biggest deterrent when it comes to the Reds resistance to signing Gray this winter might be the Qualifying Offer. Since Gray rejected the QO, the team that signs the right-hander in free agency will have to forfeit a draft pick.
In the case of the Reds, it would be their third highest selection in the 2024 MLB Draft. For reference, the past four drafts have seen Cincinnati take Jackson Miller (2020), Matheu Nelson (2021), Logan Tanner (2022), and Sammy Stafura (2023) with their third-overall selection.
Are we really suggesting that the biggest reason the Reds should not Sonny Gray is because they'd give up a draft pick? If you look at that list, only one player (Stafura) is ranked among the Top 30 prospects in the Reds farm system according to MLB Pipeline.
None of this is to suggest that drafting and developing players is unimportant. It is, and will be, the foundation of how the Cincinnati Reds will build a consistent contender.
But if sacrificing a draft pick is the only reason the Reds avoid pursuing Sonny Gray, or any player with a Qualifying Offer attached to their signing, it's foolish.