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Last November, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman came right out and told reporters (including Joel Sherman of the New York Post) that he would be looking to trade Sonny Gray.
This hasn’t happened yet, in part because the Yankees have been demanding “high-end major league talent” in trade talks, according to George A. King III of the Post. That’s a lot to ask for a starting pitcher who’s four years removed from his lone All-Star campaign, much less just a year from free agency.
Still, Gray’s list of suitors isn’t empty.
San Diego Padres
The Padres have been in on seemingly every top-of-the-line starter whose name has appeared in trade rumors. Per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com, Gray is one of them. And despite their status as rebuilders, they have some spare major league talent (e.g., Austin Hedges, Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe) to offer.
However, even vintage Gray—who put up a 2.73 ERA over 208 innings in 2015—wouldn’t turn the Padres into contenders in 2019. It makes a lot more sense for them to put their trade chips toward a pitcher they’d control for more than just one year.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Braves discussed landing Gray in a three-team trade with the Yankees and Rangers that would have involved Jurickson Profar. That obviously didn’t pan out, but there’s still an opening for Gray atop an Atlanta rotation that could use a veteran leader.
The Braves might entice the Yankees by offering one or more arms from their considerable collection of MLB-ready pitching prospects. Alternatively, the Braves could out those arms to land somebody for their massive hole in right field. Or just, you know, promote them and use them.
As Morosi reported in late December, the Brewers have been “prominent” in trade talks for Gray. Milwaukee has World Series aspirations and a strong defense to put behind Gray, and they fit the bill of a team that darn well should be prominent in the mix for him.
But with Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton gone, the Brewers have two fewer spare major leaguers to offer. Their best bargaining chips are young right-handers Brandon Woodruff (age 25), Corbin Burnes (24) and Freddy Peralta (22), and they may prefer to use them on a pitcher with less downside.
The Reds have been at the forefront of rumors about Gray all winter, and Jon Heyman of Fancred reported last Thursday that they remain interested. Not so coincidentally, their new pitching coach is Derek Johnson, who forged a strong relationship with Gray when the two were at Vanderbilt.
Adding Gray would fit with the Reds’ plan for 2019, which will either see them contend or sell off the reclamation project rentals they’ve accumulated. As far as possible deals go, the Reds might sell the Yankees on an upside play on one or more former top prospects, such as Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed or Brandon Finnegan.
Speculative: Oakland Athletics
According to Morosi, the Yankees and A’s had talks about Gray in November, but they apparently went nowhere. In light of how badly the A’s still need bodies for their starting rotation, it’s possible talks will open up again and that Gray will return to the place where he first found stardom.