Usually the Yankees’ offseason begins with speculation over what players could soon suit up in pinstripes. This year, however, the first order of business may be shipping a current pitcher to pastures new. During yesterday’s season-end press conference, Brian Cashman made it explicitly clear that he wants to trade Sonny Gray.
“It hasn’t worked out thus far,” Cashman said of Gray’s Yankees tenure. “I think he’s extremely talented. I think that we’ll enter the winter, unfortunately, open-minded to a relocation. I think to maximize his abilities, it would be more likely best somewhere else.”
Cashman only hedged slightly by remarking that the team could of course hold on to Gray, should an interested club not meet the Yankees’ asking price. More than anything, this was an attempt to salvage whatever leverage he has left. It’s tough to imagine Gray pitching for the Bombers next season.
The Yankees originally acquired Gray from the Oakland Athletics at the trade deadline in 2017. The team landed him in exchange for a trio of minor leaguers: James Kaprielian, Dustin Fowler, and Jorge Mateo. New York expected a controllable, top of the rotation pitcher. Instead, Gray pitched his way out of the rotation by the second half of the 2018 season.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Cashman wants to move on from Gray. The right-hander logged 130.1 innings worth of 4.90 ERA (4.17 FIP) ball during his first full season in pinstripes. While he struggled everywhere, Yankee Stadium proved a nightmare for the 28-year-old. He had a 6.98 ERA in 59.1 innings at home. For context, that’s worse than Carl Pavano’s 6.89 ERA in the Bronx during the 2005 season. That level of performance begs for a change of scenery.
More surprising, however, is the level of candor from Cashman. While always an outspoken general manager, he held little back when discussing his disappointment over Gray’s shortcoming.
Cashman on Sonny Gray: "Someone, if they trade for him, is gonna get the player we wanted."— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) October 12, 2018
Maybe no deal will come together, but based on the tone of yesterday’s press conference, it would be shocking if Gray is still with the organization come spring training. It sure sounds like his days as a Yankee are numbered.