With the Texas Rangers in desperate need of starting pitching, could Yankees trade block candidate, Sonny Gray, be an option?
I don’t have to break any news to you when I say that the Texas Rangers are in desperate need of starting pitching for next season. While it seems that Jon Daniels and the front office aren’t convinced an aggressive free agency is the right choice, maybe the Rangers could make some moves on the trade market.
Brian Cashman, GM of the New York Yankees, announced in a press conference today that they would be looking to offload pitcher, Sonny Gray this offseason. Gray, who had an admittedly, awful season this year, is a name Rangers fans are probably quite familiar with. The near 29-year old righty spent the first four-plus years of his career with AL West rival, Oakland, before being dealt to the Yankees in 2017. Cashman noted that a change of scenery would probably be best for Gray, who lost his spot in the Yankees rotation during the regular season and finished the year in the bullpen.
Gray, was coming off of a successful 2017 campaign in which he made 27 starts split between Oakland and New York. In 2017 he had a 3.55 ERA and a 1.207 WHIP. With expectations for 2018 high for both the Yankees and Gray, he severely underperformed and as mentioned above, lost his spot in the rotation. In 30 appearances (23 starts), Gray posted an 11-9 record, a 4.90 ERA and his WHIP skyrocketed to 1.496, tying the worst of his career set back in 2016. With New York recently eliminated from the MLB playoffs but expecting to be a contender next year, they decided his spot on the roster would be best filled by someone else.
So why would Texas be interested in yet another pitcher coming off a poor year? While the Matt Moore experiment might have soured the thought of bringing mid career pitchers on a down swing, most would agree that Sonny Gray has considerably more upside than Moore did. With the Rangers looking to find reasonably cheap starting pitching during this holdover before they feel they can compete again, Gray seems a perfect candidate. He likely doesn’t have a big price tag right now with the Yankees just looking to ship him off at this point. Additionally, he has a year of arbitration for 2019 meaning the Rangers wouldn’t be forced to sign him long term. In 2018, Gray made $6.5 million and with how down a year he had, I can’t imagine arbitration would bring him much more.
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Texas could bring him in, evaluate where he is and where the team is mid-season and then adjust accordingly. If they feel he could be of long-term use, they could try and sign him to an extension. If he’s pitching well but the team clearly isn’t where it needs to be, they could move him at the trade deadline and bring in more prospects. A pitcher like Gray gives the Rangers plenty of options if they were to bring him in.
What Would A Trade For Gray Look Like?
If the Rangers were to make a move for Sonny Gray, what would they have to give up? Partially it depends on how desperate the Yankees are to move Gray and how many suitors the pitcher can garner. With the Yankees finding out that Didi Gregorius will miss most of 2019 after having Tommy John surgery, New York has a hole at shortstop. Could this open the door to a Jurickson Profar deal?
If the Yankees were interested in the Rangers utility infielder, Texas might be able to swing a package that includes Sonny Gray and a prospect or two because of how well Profar played this past season.
Texas no doubt would listen to other offers for Jurickson Profar before pulling the trigger on a deal with the Yankees. However, Profar likely is the most expendable of the Rangers’ infielders right now and a deal that could get them the hope of a solid rotation starter right now in Sonny Gray and potential future starter in Nolan Martinez may be enough for them to part ways with the former top prospect in all of baseball.