Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray has been on the trade block all offseason, but the club hasn’t found an offer to its liking for the 29-year-old. There’s at least one serious suitor for Gray, though, as Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets that the Brewers are still prominently in the mix for him. Meanwhile, the NL Central rival Reds are fading in the race, Morosi adds.
A slew of teams have kicked the tires on Gray this winter, but despite his difficulties in 2018, the Yankees reportedly want “high-end” big leaguers in exchange for him. They apparently haven’t been able to find that type of offer for Gray, who’s coming off a season to forget and only under control through 2019 (at a projected $9.1MM). Gray struggled to a 4.90 ERA with a career-worst 3.94 BB/9 in 130 1/3 innings last season, and even lost his place in the Yankees’ rotation. However, the former Athletic’s 2018 issues were essentially limited to the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, as evidenced by his 3.17 ERA/2.65 FIP in 71 innings away from the Bronx. Gray has historically been an effective starter, having logged a 3.66 ERA/3.74 FIP in 900 2/3 frames since debuting in the majors in 2013.
While Gray’s a candidate to bounce back in 2019, it doesn’t appear it’ll happen in New York. Since general manager Brian Cashman admitted in mid-October that Gray would likely be better off elsewhere, the executive has acquired left-hander James Paxton from the Mariners and re-signed fellow southpaws J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia in free agency. With those three set to join righties Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees already have a capable five-man rotation heading into 2019.
The Brewers, meanwhile, don’t look to be as fortunate as the Yankees when it comes to current starting options. Although Milwaukee came within a game of a World Series berth in 2018, its success came without a great-looking rotation, and the unit has since seen Wade Miley and Gio Gonzalez become free agents. It’s now down to Jhoulys Chacin, Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Brandon Woodruff and the rehabbing Jimmy Nelson, among others, set to vie for starting roles. There’s an argument that Gray has a better overall track record than any of the Brewers’ starters, and it’s worth pointing out that GM David Stearns has been chasing him for a while. Before the A’s traded Gray to the Yankees in July 2017, the Brewers were among the teams with interest in him.
Like the Yankees, the Reds have already addressed their rotation in multiple ways this offseason. In separate trades this month, the club has acquired righty Tanner Roark from the Nationals and lefty Alex Wood from the Dodgers. As things stand, they’ll join righties Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani and Tyler Mahle in the Reds’ 2019 rotation. But it does seem the Reds will pick up yet another starter before the offseason’s out, so perhaps it would be unwise to rule out a Gray acquisition. Notably, Gray and Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson have familiarity from their time together at Vanderbilt, where the former was a star hurler and the latter one of the Commodores’ coaches.