10:41pm: Slusser writes that the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Brewers, Indians, Pirates and Royals all had scouts on hand to watch Gray’s start tonight. She adds that the Yankees “are making a strong push” for Gray but also calls the Astros “one of the frontrunners” for Gray despite their lack of a scouting presence at tonight’s game.
Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, meanwhile, hears that the Brewers have “backed off” of talks after finding the asking price to be too steep. Likewise, the Braves are said to be “behind” the Yankees in their pursuit.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post has further detail on some of the contenders for Gray’s services. The Brewers are amenable to considering prospects Corey Ray and Luis Ortiz in a package, though it hardly seems sure that both could be dangled for Gray. As for the Yankees, beyond the previously mentioned Florial and Mateo, it seems that youngsters such as Domingo Acevedo, Freicer Perez, and Albert Abreu could conceivably be in play.
5:55pm: Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that the Yankees are “one of at least seven teams” that has scouts in attendance for Gray’s start tonight.
5:42pm: Morosi tweets that Gray has begun his warmups and adds that “all signs point toward” Gray making his scheduled start tonight. Feinsand tweets that the same sources who indicated progress was being made also suggested that a deal is not likely to be completed tonight.
5:30pm: The Yankees have been oft-connected to both Sonny Gray and Yonder Alonso, and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand now cites multiple sources in reporting that the Yankees are “making progress” toward a deal that could send both players to the Bronx. It’s worth noting that Gray is slated to start tonight’s game in Toronto and has yet to be scratched from that outing, so there’s no immediate indication that anything is imminent.
New York’s need both in the rotation and at first base is readily apparent. The Yankees have already lost Michael Pineda to Tommy John surgery and will see CC Sabathia’s contract expire at season’s end. It’s also possible, depending on how he finishes out that year, that Masahiro Tanaka could opt out and land elsewhere. That’d leave the Yankees with Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery and trio of vacant spots in the rotation, but adding Gray would fill one such void. The 27-year-old right-hander, who looks to be healthy after a triceps injury in 2016 and a lat strain earlier this year, is earning $3.575MM in 2017 and can be controlled via arbitration through the 2019 campaign.
As for the team’s first base void, that’s been a noted flaw all season. Greg Bird hasn’t been able to get healthy and recently underwent ankle surgery, while Tyler Austin has been out for about a month with a hamstring strain. Chris Carter, signed to a one-year deal this winter, flopped and has since been released. The Yankees picked up 26-year-old rookie Garrett Cooper in a minor swap with the Brewers, but a platoon of Cooper and Chase Headley may not hold the same appeal as plugging Alonso into that spot. Then again, Headley has picked up his production at the plate considerably as of late. Alonso, a rental, is in the midst of a breakout campaign. He’s cooled at the plate recently but is still hitting a robust .264/.363/.535 with 21 homers despite a pitcher-friendly home park.
Feinsand notes that colleague Jon Morosi reported the Athletics’ interest in center field prospect Estevan Florial earlier today and adds infield/outfield prospect Jorge Mateo could also be a part of talks. However, he also notes that one source deemed Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield as “close to untouchable” in GM Brian Cashman’s eyes.