Sonny Gray of the New York Yankees, who has seen his career fall spectacularly since joining the Bombers, has reportedly been linked to the Blue Jays in preliminary trade talks.
It’s evident, the Blue Jays need pitching this offseason. Whether it be starters or relievers, veterans or youngsters, the front office needs to find a way to acquire, develop and build arms to compete for the next few years.
Now, it appears as though the team has at least checked in on a struggling arm who plays for a division rival. According to Max Wildstein of Gotham Sports, the Blue Jays are one of the teams who have spoken to the Yankees about acquiring Sonny Gray, a player who Yankees GM Brian Cashman all but confirmed will be shipped off this winter. Wildstein’s tweet also notes that the Braves, Reds, Brewers and Giants have all called in. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com had previously reported that the Yankees are getting significant interest on Gray as a trade piece.
Gray, 28, was once a promising young starter, having finished third in Cy Young voting in 2015 when he played for the Oakland Athletics. Slowly declining, Gray found significant struggles in New York, even getting removed from the starting rotation, leaving Cashman and the Yankees with little to no choice but to move on.
This season with the Yankees, he pitched to an ERA of 4.90 in 130.1 innings, striking out 123 while walking 57. By the end of the season, he’d all but lost the confidence of his manager and pitched only 11 innings in September. Baseball Reference projects him to go 137 frames next season with an ERA of 4.40.
At the surface, it’s easy to see why the Blue Jays are at least moderately interested in Gray. He has some upside, despite under-performing over the last few seasons. He could, if all goes well, be a decently productive contributor to a rotation starved of consistent innings. After all, all the team really needs in 2019 is innings.
Gray, a native of Nashville, Tennesse, is only under contract for another year and will earn a projected $9.1 million in his third and final year of arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors‘ recent arbitration projection model.
If the Blue Jays can get him for a good price, it wouldn’t be a terrible move. He might draw some attention to the team and could be a fantastic reclamation project. If he performs well early on in the season, trading him at the deadline could net an adequate profit.
Regardless, this development is one that surely will be watched with great interest from Blue Jays fans. If innings are what they need, Gray could fill that need, and for the right price.