Piecing together a trade proposal between the Reds and Rangers for Sonny Gray

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) throws a pitch.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) throws a pitch. / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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It sure sounds like the Cincinnati Reds are going to deal one of their starting pitchers this offseason, doesn't it? The trio of Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Tyler Mahle have all been rumored to be available this winter. And with the current market for starting pitching, the Reds could certainly land a nice return for one or more of their right-handed starters.

Kevin Gausman left the Bay Area and signed a six-year/$110M contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Robbie Ray waved au revoir to Hollywood North and is headed to the Emerald City on a five-year/$115M deal. And Max Scherzer cashed in with a three-year/$130M offer to move to the Big Apple.

Reds RHP Sonny Gray is said to be available in trade talks.

The crazy amount of money spent on starting pitching prior to the MLB lockout shows just how much teams value good pitching. The Reds are sitting in the cat bird's seat with three hurlers who are, at worst, the No. 3 starter on a good pitching staff.

Castillo and Mahle both entered the offseason with two years of team control remaining. Castillo, who had a rough start to 2021, rebounded nicely after June 1st and posted a 2.73 ERA over his final 22 starts. Mahle is an analytics darling who set career marks in games and innings pitched, wins, FIP, and fWAR.

Castillo's price tag for the 2022 season is estimated by MLB Trade Rumors to come in around $7.6M, while Mahle should be a bit cheaper at a projected $5.6M next season. Sonny Gray, however, is in the final year of his deal and will take home a base salary of $10.2M in 2022. The team holds a $12M option for the 2023 season as well.

Gray just turned 32 years old and is coming off an injury-plagued campaign in 2021. Gray appeared in 26 games, and while the strikeouts were there, some of the right-hander's numbers are a bit concerning. Gray saw his HR/9 spike from 0.64 to 1.26 and his ERA jumped from 3.70 to 4.19.

Gray can still be an effective piece of the Cincinnati Reds rotation next season, but with the likely ascension of young hurlers like Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Vladimir Gutierrez, and Reiver Sanmartin, his standing with the team, especially considering his salary, is in question.

The Texas Rangers are said to be a match for the trio of Reds starters prior to the MLB lockout. Jon Morosi of MLB Network had reported early last month that despite investing heavily in both Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, the Rangers were one of the team who had inquired about the Redlegs' starters.

Our friends over at Nolan Writin', a FanSided website dedicated to anything and everything related to the Texas Rangers, put together a proposal for Sonny Gray that included three mid-level prospects. Let's examine their proposal and see if we can't find some common ground.