Rapid Reaction: Five reasons why the Yankees are immediate winners of the Sonny Gray sweepstakes

After days and days of endless tweets, reports, and rumors swirling around the Yankees and Athletics, approximately an hour before the July 31 Trade Deadline Jack Curry of YES announced that the Yankees had indeed acquired their number one trade target, Sonny Gray, from Oakland. Jeff Passan followed up with the package, which consisted of IF/OF Jorge Mateo, SP James Kaprielian, and OF Dustin Fowler. It was then reported that the Athletics would also be sending over 1.5 million dollars of international signing money along with Gray.
Photo Credit: AP

Adding an impact arm like Sonny Gray upgrades a rotation that has had four starters performing well, as of late, along with the recently acquired veteran southpaw Jaime Garcia. Excluding last season, Gray has been outstanding in his young Major League career and should be a welcomed addition by all Yankee fans. To receive a solid pitcher like Gray, a team needs to give up a significant amount of quality young players, which the Yankees did in Mateo, Kaprielian, and Fowler. However, despite these losses, the Yankees immediately come off as winners in the Sonny Gray sweepstakes. Here are five reasons why there are sunny skies in the Bronx:


The Yankees acquired a cheap, controllable, frontline starter to silence any rotation questions.

There is no denying the talents of the player that the Yankees acquired on July 31, 2017. Gray is a top of the rotation arm that carries a third-place CY Young finish, two seasons of 200+ innings, and a career ERA of 3.42, which is inflated from last year’s 5.69 ERA. Gray has potentially not even peaked in terms of his pitching ability as he is only 27-years-old and has not had a lot of wear and tear on his arm in terms of innings pitched. His contract has huge upside as he is controllable through the end of the 2019 season, and he will not cost the Yankees’ crazy dollar amounts in arbitration. The Yankees could very well offer Gray a qualifying offer for 2020, if he still is still performing well. Gray will give the Yankees a solid start every fifth day for not just 2017, but for a few years to follow, and his team friendly contract will not hinder the Yankees in future expenditures.

The Yankees held on to Frazier, Torres, Florial, Adams, and more.
According to various reports over the past few days. The A’s were insistent on having one of the Yankees top-tier prospects included in a deal for Gray. Brian Cashman did not budge, and it worked out in the Yankees’ favor as they traded away their fourth, eighth, and twelfth best prospects within their organization. Unlike the Red Sox, who had to trade arguably their best two prospects for an ace, Brian Cashman was able to hold on to the prospect cornerstones of the Yankee farm system, while also acquiring a top-tier pitcher.
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After career altering injuries, Kaprielian and Fowler may not reach their potential.
From a humane standpoint, it is devastating to see the Yankees trade away two outstanding baseball players that have had their careers hindered by major injuries. However, baseball is a business and Brian Cashman completely cashed (no pun intended) in by selling the A’s on the ceilings of both Kaprielian and Fowler. If Fowler recovers from his devastating injury he sustained in his Major League debut, he has the potential to be a stud centerfielder. Kaprielian has only pitched in 14 games, since the Yankees drafted him due to injuries, so if he can stay healthy he could be a solid arm in the A’s future rotation. Both of these players are surrounded by “if’s,” and the fact that Brian Cashman was able to hold onto prospects with a more predictable future is absolutely brilliant.  

The Yankees traded away prospects in areas where they had depth.
It has been no secret that the Yankees’ farm system and MLB roster is loaded with outfielders, and to a smaller extent, middle infielders. So, what did Brian Cashman do? He traded away a speedy middle infielder and outfielder in Jorge Mateo, who is blocked by Gleyber Torres and the plethora of Yankee OF prospects. Mateo has been solid since his promotion to Double-A Trenton, however, there is no reason to hold on to a prospect that has an extremely difficult path to the Majors. Fowler would have also been blocked by the abundance of outfielders in the system and was therefore expendable. While a team can never have enough pitching, the addition of Gray and the rise of Sheffield and Adams in the Yankees’ system made Kaprielian expendable as well.
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Cashman has let the fan base and team know he is dedicated to making this team a winner.
After completely deconstructing the roster last summer, the Yankees have accomplished something that probably no one expected, and that’s adding pieces to a first-place ball club. The Yankees have a young, electric team that has played fantastic baseball for most of (yes June was quite disastrous) the 2017 season, and rather than playing off their success, the Yankees’ front office has realized how special and competitive this team really is. The Yankees had a glaring hole in the bullpen and rotation after some injuries and underperforming. Cashman recognized this and went out to the trade market and plugged these holes without jeopardizing the team’s future. This is not only extra motivation for the fans to get excited, but it lets the players know that everyone believes in them and that they are in it for the stretch run.

As a side note it is interesting that the Yankees are actively pursuing international signing pool money as indicated by this trade and the earlier Ramirez trade with the Orioles. This could illustrate they have a strong determination to pursue an international player like Shohei Otani in the near future.


Article by: Ryan Thoms
 

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