After months of rumors, it sounds like the Yankees are finally trading Sonny Gray. Jon Heyman reports that the the Bombers are finalizing a trade that would send the embattled right-hander to the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange, the Bombers will receive infield prospect Shed Long, a Competitive Balance Round A draft pick, and possibly a lesser prospect. Ken Rosenthal first had that the Reds were making progress yesterday.
Gray, 29, had a disastrous season in 2018. He pitched to a 4.90 ERA (4.17 FIP) across 130.1 innings. The nadir of his season came on August 7th, when he allowed seven runs in 2.2 innings against the lowly Orioles. That performance got him booed off the mound and demoted to the bullpen.
The nightmare campaign directly resulted in Gray landing on the trade market. Brian Cashman made it explicitly clear that he had no interest in keeping the pitcher. “It’s been a year and a half,” he told Erik Boland of Newsday back in November. “I’m not going to be Sisyphus pushing the rock up a hill and having it roll back on top of me. It’s not working.”
The Yankees acquired Gray from the Athletics at the trade deadline in 2017. He owned a 4.51 ERA (4.40 FIP) in pinstripes. That’s not the type of production the club envisioned when they sent James Kaprielian, Dustin Fowler, and Jorge Mateo to Oakland. They got a liability with extreme home-road splits instead of a controllable, frontline starter.
It’s fair to say that New York recouped some of the prospect capital they traded away for Gray. Long, 23, spent all of last season at Double-A Pensacola. He hit .261/.353/.412 with 12 home runs (120 wRC+) over 126 games. According to MLB Pipeline, he has potential to be a quality bat in the majors:
“Despite his 5-foot-8 frame, Long has shown the ability to consistently impact the baseball. The power is legitimate, coming from outstanding bat speed and very quick hands. He does strike out some, but his walk rate went up in 2017 and he’s shown a willingness to use all fields. Possessing average speed at best, Long is an aggressive baserunner who swiped 21 bases in 2016, though that number decreased to nine in 2017. A catcher when he first began his pro career, he moved to second in 2015, allowing his bat to take off, and he’s worked to become an adequate defensive infielder.”
He ranked seventh on the Reds’ top 30 prospects, and will now give the Yankees’ farm system some much needed depth on the position player side.
Now the Yankees can finally move on from the Gray saga, and that’s a good thing. We’ll have more on the deal soon, so stay tuned. How does everyone feel about it, though? Let us know in the comment section!