11:19am: MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets that the Yankees had offers from multiple teams they’d have accepted for Gray as of last Friday, so if talks with the Reds don’t pan out, those proposals could once again come into play.
Jan. 21, 10:08am: Heyman tweets that there’s some optimism from the Reds that they’ll be able to work out an extension before today’s window closes. However, if the extension doesn’t materialize (and, thus, the currently proposed trade does not go through), the Yankees may “look elsewhere” for a trade partner for Gray.
Jan. 20, 4:56pm: A resolution on a Yankees-Reds trade is not expected tonight, and a deadline on a 72-hour negotiation window between Gray and Cincy is sometime late on Monday, Rosenthal tweets.
10:37am: It’s possible the Reds are trying to sign Gray to an extension before acquiring him, Rosenthal tweets, though he notes a deal could come together either way.
Jan. 19, 6:08pm: The two sides are “finalizing” the deal, per Heyman, who reports the Yankees will likely receive Long and a draft pick. The Yankees could also land a third piece in the trade, Heyman suggests.
2:31pm: Per Heyman, the Reds would prefer not to include Stephenson in a deal for Gray, and talks now “center around” Long. Stephenson, 22, was the 11th overall selection in the 2015 draft, and has steadily progressed through the Cincinnati farm. In last month’s update, Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs projected the 6’4″ righty as an average regular, lauding his double-plus arm and 60 grade raw power. Long also projects as a regular, though perhaps not at second, where he has “below average hands” and “clunky footwork,” per Fangraphs’ scouting report.
Jan. 19, 9:02am: Expect Gray to be moved sometime this weekend, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The Reds and Yankees are inching closer to a deal, with two prospects and a draft pick the expected return for Gray. Long and Stephenson (currently the #6 and #7 prospects in the Reds system per MLB.com) are the prospects most likely to be headed to New York. It’s not a done deal, however, as the Giants, Brewers, and Braves are still part of the conversation.
Jan. 18, 4:55pm: There are other teams still involved, per Andy Martino of SNY.tv (Twitter link), including at least the Padres and Giants. There have been some discussions of three-team arrangements, Martino also notes.
Jan. 18, 2:33pm: The Reds are “making progress” in their talks with the Yankees regarding veteran righty Sonny Gray, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). It emerged yesterday that the Yanks were nearing a deal involving the starter, though multiple organizations were still said to be involved in talks.
It seems fair now to assume that the Cincinnati club is emerging as a favorite, though it’s certainly too soon to rule out alternatives. The Reds have already added a pair of starters via trade in Tanner Roark and Alex Wood. Like those hurlers, Gray is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility. He’ll earn $7.5MM after agreeing to terms with the Yankees, making him a bit less costly than the other two pitchers.
The potential return remains to be seen, and obviously hasn’t quite been nailed down. Jon Heyman of Fancred reports (Twitter links) that the organizations are still discussing different prospects — second baseman Shed Long and catcher Tyler Stephenson among them — while a draft pick could also be part of the return. (That would have to be the Reds’ 2019 competitive balance pick, which is a valuable sandwich-round selection currently slotted in at No. 36 overall.)
If they can wrap up an agreement, the Reds would certainly present quite a different rotation than the ones they have trotted out in recent years. Roark, Wood, and (hypothetically) Gray all have their warts, but each has found plenty of success in the majors. They’d likely join Anthony DeSclafani and hard-throwing Luis Castillo to round out the starting five under new manager David Bell.
It’s notable, of course, that none of Roark, Wood or Gray comes with control rights beyond the ’19 season. The same is also true of recently acquired outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. It’s possible that the Reds simply prefer one-year commitments at this time, which would allow them the chance to reevaluate their future needs after the conclusion of the 2019 season.