Sonny Gray’s most recent meltdown sparked another round of speculation regarding his role on the team. After yielding seven runs in just 2.2 innings to the pitiful Orioles yesterday, manager Aaron Boone was non-committal when it came to whether or not Gray would maintain his spot in the rotation. The Yankees have committed now, announcing today that Gray would move to the bullpen.
The move is the culmination of a disastrous week for the right-hander. On Monday, the Yankees added competition for a rotation spot in form of Lance Lynn. Gray was then pounded by Baltimore, and sat through an awkward presser afterwards, in which he was asked to account for his odd, smiling reaction to his poor performance, as well as an old, off-color tweet of his that had been uncovered.
The incumbent Lynn tossed 4.1 shutout innings in relief of Gray, immediately pressing the question of whether Gray’s rotation slot was in danger. The Yankees didn’t let the question linger and acted quickly, though perhaps not quickly enough for some, given Gray’s struggles on the year. He owns a 5.56 ERA in 21 starts on the season.
Gray said he has been given a lot of chances and understands why the move is being made #Yankees— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 2, 2018
"Maybe it'll help simplify, simplify, simplify," Sonny Gray says about his move to the bullpen.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) August 2, 2018
Gray does appear to at least be saying the right things in light of his new circumstances. Maybe he will excel in his new role, and with another year of team control remaining, it’s certainly possible, if not likely, he could return to starting for New York in the near future.
Brian Cashman indicated Lynn will step into Gray’s spot on the starting staff, unsurprisingly, given Lynn’s positive first impression with club and solid track record. Going forward, perhaps Luis Cessa, who is making a spot start Saturday due to J.A. Happ’s illness, will be a factor, or even top prospect Justus Sheffield at some point.
For now, Gray is out, and justifiably so. It’s been an ugly season for him. Hopefully, he can rebound out of the bullpen, and the Yankees can find better production in the rotation elsewhere.