The Yankees could be a major player in the Sonny Gray market

With the July Trade Deadline on the horizon, teams are starting to realize where they stand amongst the rest of the teams in Major League Baseball. The Yankees were not projected to be in the thick of things once the season hit the halfway mark, but here they are tied for first place with the Boston Red Sox. This by default labels the Yankees as “buyers” like most teams are with a legitimate shot at a postseason berth. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Yankees could potentially make a huge splash for the Oakland Atheltics’ ace, Sonny Gray.
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In the Yankees’ recent skid, their bullpen was an obvious weakness as they blew game after game. Passan noted, however, that the “cratering of their starting pitching” was also to blame for the Yankees losing their comfortable first-place lead. In their last 60 innings pitched before Montgomery’s magnificent start against the White Sox on Monday, the Yankees’ starting pitching had allowed 13 home runs and had a collectable 6.00 ERA. For a team that has had its foundation built on quality start after quality start, (minus a certain Masahiro most days) this rough patch of starts depicts how badly the Yankees need solid outings from their rotation in order to succeed.

So, why Sonny Gray? Most importantly, the Athletics have made it clear that he is available this summer, as he is having a nice rebound season after pitching horrendously in 2016. The A’s have tried to hold onto Gray for many off-seasons and deadlines in an effort to build his trade value, but after 2016, this may be the highest Gray’s value has been in almost a year and a half, and the Athletics would be foolish not to deal him when the quality of starting pitching will not be very abundant come July.

Sonny Gray has ace-caliber stuff and already has an All-Star appearance under his belt. He is only 27-years-old and is under contract until the 2020 season. At his best Gray has proved to be a pitcher who can pitch to a sub-3.00 ERA and give his team 200-plus innings. Gray would be a fantastic fit for the Yankees due to his age and the fact that he can be an asset to the rotation for the Yankees’ next few seasons or more.

The biggest problem is that it is going to take a lot to get Sonny Gray to the Bronx. Even though his numbers aren’t dazzling, the market for him is huge including teams like the Astros, Red Sox, Cubs, and Braves. In a market that is low on pitching, Billy Beane and the A’s management are going to try to strategically land the best package possible. Gray is also not a half-season rental due to his contract, and the Yankees know first-hand how a guy with a long contract can bring back a massive haul.

Two possible packages:

Athletics trade RHP Sonny Gray to the New York Yankees for OF Dustin Fowler and RHP Chance Adams

This package probably made the reader cringe reading it as did it make me when I typed it. Fowler is having a fantastic year at Triple-A Scranton as he is hitting .291 with 39 extra base-hits and 13 stolen bases. Adams is pitching phenomenally with a 2.12 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 46.2 innings. Fowler and Adams are two dynamic players that could possibly lure the A’s into trading away Gray without the Yankees needing to give up more than two prospects. Fowler is expendable due to the Yankees’ luxury of having an ample amount of solid outfielders, but having to deal Adams would be a hefty price that the Yankees would most likely have to pay up.
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Athletics trade RHP Sonny Gray and RHP Ryan Madson to the New York Yankees for LHP Justus Sheffield, 3B Miguel Andujar, RHP Ben Heller and RHP Albert Abreu

This package is more on the side of quantity versus quality of prospects. The Yankees would not be losing any of their big shot prospects, but would have to part ways with three of their top ten prospects in this deal. Sheffield and Heller were acquired in the Andrew Miller trade. Sheffield would give the A’s another solid arm to be a part of their future rotation and Heller could replace Madson in the A’s bullpen. Andujar would give the A’s a future corner infielder and Abreu would be another hard throwing arm for their future. I threw in Ryan Madson in this deal, because the Yankees can clearly use some bullpen help and taking Madson’s contract off of the A’s books could allow them to not have to part ways with their most coveted of prospects.

While Passan’s report was just a rumor and could be irreleveant to the Yankees’ trade deadline plans, if the Yankees truly believe that 2017 is their season to contend, Gray would undeniably make them a better team. The Yankees will in all likelihood have to give up a lot in order to acquire Gray’s services, and they will have to decide if that move is better for them in long-run.

Article by: Ryan Thoms

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