Trading for Yankees’ Sonny Gray an Option for Padres?

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Is trading for the New York Yankees’ RHP Sonny Gray an option for the San Diego Padres?

Recently Joel Sherman reported that the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees have begun discussions involving some Padre pitchers.

The Friars have had a down 2018 season, but there is some valuable pitching on the 25-man roster.

The report specifically mentioned Tyson Ross and Kirby Yates as players that the Yankees could covet. It also mentions Brad Hand, who could be made available by the Padres if the teams hefty asking price is met.

Some speculate that the Padres would want prospects in return in a potential trade, but we all know A.J. Preller and the team prefer to think outside the box. Just as you think you have the team figured out, they do something completely different.

The New York Yankees are in the need of starting pitching presently. The should go deep in the playoffs, and they are well-aware that starting pitching can carry a team to a World Series Title. Sonny Gray is 6-7 this season with a 5.46 ERA in 18 starts. His walks are up this season and so are his hits allowed. The 28-year-old has not been impressive and Yankees fans are upset with his output.

Some in the industry feel that the soft-spoken Gray is not a good fit for the high-paced world of New York. There are some that feel he would produce much better in a quieted environment where he is not constantly under scrutiny. Somewhere like Oakland, where he had past success.

What kind of deal can be consummated between these two sides where both walk away happy?

Let’s first answer some questions, then explore if a deal can be made.

Why would the Yankees consider dealing Gray?

The New York Yankees need starting pitching. They gave away three players for Gray including Jorge Mateo who is a shortstop with a high upside. They might be angry with his production, but dealing him seems extreme at this point.

He simply hasn’t performed in the pinstripes. The team expects better and have historically wasted no time to make a change. Gray is due for free agency after the 2019 season. Yankees management could view now as an opportunity to move on from Gray and still get some value in return. The Padres could include Tyson Ross in a deal. He does not have the pedigree of Gray, but is pitching better than him currently. Ross wouldn’t be the “get” for the Yankees in a Gray deal though.

What kind of value does Sonny Gray have?

Gray was 44-36 in Oakland with a 3.42 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in five years. He was not dominant, but was serviceable. The 28-year-old should have plenty of more tread left on his tires.  As mentioned, he has roughly one and a half-year of service time left before his first free agency experience.

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The right handed pitcher is good, but he would not be considered an ace. He has mid-rotation stuff with the ability to get better due to his age and increased experience in the league. New York is probably not where he will excel as a pitcher, so it is understandable that the quiet Gray could flourish on a team where the media is not as prevalent.

Why would he be on interest to the Padres?

This is probably the most interesting take. The San Diego Padres are in the search of team control young players and probably looking for pitching in particular. Gray does not fit the profile as a long-term player, but could be a reliable pitcher for the Friars. He also has a possible compensation pick attached to him after the 2019 season as well.

The Darren Balsley factor also comes into effect here as the pitching coach has a great track-record with former A’s pitchers (Tyson Ross and Drew Pomeranz). Gray could blossom in a Padre uniform and the team could also be tempted to extend him. There is also the possibility the he could be flipped at the trade deadline next season if the club is not satisfied with a potential pick. There are options for the Padres if he were acquired.

The verdict

The Padres could have some interest in Gray, but it really comes down to cost. If Yankees’ fans are wishing for Brad Hand in a deal, then they can move along. The Padres value Hand more, as they should. Gray could fetch the Yankees a Ross, Kirby Yates and possibly a prospect in a trade, but I am not sure if that is enough for the Bombers. If New York is able to attain more starting pitching in the coming weeks (which is not out of the realm of possibility), then Sonny Gray could be viewed as expendable. Keep an eye on that.

Look for the Padres to try to maximize value on players in any trade. If they can pick up Gray at a reasonable price, then it may be an option for the team. He could either be extended, traded next July or allowed to walk after the 2019 season for a high draft pick in the 2020 draft. The Padres think outside the box and this could be an option for A.J. Preller depending on the price tag on the right handed pitcher.

1 thought on “Trading for Yankees’ Sonny Gray an Option for Padres?

  1. Interesting article. Fangraphs just had an article about how the problem with Gray is pitch selection.
    The Yankees have their pitchers throw a fastball the least amount of time, and Gray’s success has come with his command of his fastball. Suggest his game will rebound as soon as NY stops trying to change him.
    Would have been a good pick up for SD, but unlikely to happen, even before the Hand deal.

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