5:13pm: “A few teams” remain in talks with the Yanks, per Jack Curry of the YES Network (via Twitter).
3:49pm: The Athletics and Padres are involved, while the Reds do not appear to be, according to SNY.tv’s Andy Martino (Twitter link).
Heyman hears that the Giants have entered the picture (Twitter link). Contrary to Martino, he also suggests that the organizations previously rumored to have interest have dropped back — including the A’s and Pads as well as all of the other ballclubs listed below.
3:11pm: David O’Brien of The Athletic tweets that any trade of Gray won’t include the Braves. There have been no recent discussions between New York and Atlanta, per O’Brien.
1:45pm: The Yankees, who reportedly reached an agreement with Adam Ottavino this afternoon, are “working hard” on a trade of right-hander Sonny Gray, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The team’s effort “appears to be getting more serious,” Heyman writes, noting that previous suitors for Gray have included the Reds, Giants, Brewers, Padres, Athletics, Braves and Mariners. It’s not clear that any of those clubs are at the forefront of New York’s current efforts to move Gray, though.
Gray and the Yankees agreed to a $7.5MM salary for the 2019 season recently. While GM Brian Cashman had previously suggested that the Yanks could hold Gray into the 2019 season despite voicing a preference to find a change of scenery for Gray, that possibility became less likely when CC Sabathia was cleared to resume baseball activities following a December angioplasty procedure. With Sabathia back on track for the ’19 season, Gray once again became a more superfluous piece for the Yanks.
A change of scenery for Gray, 29, only makes sense after he struggled profusely with the Yankees in 2018 — particularly when pitching at Yankee Stadium. Gray posted a ghastly 6.98 ERA at home in 2018 compared to a 3.17 ERA on the road, and while there’s surely more at play in those splits than the surface-level numbers exhibit, the contrast between the two numbers is unequivocally jarring.
Teams interested in Gray are undoubtedly encouraged by the fact that his velocity remained consistent with its previous levels (93.8 mph average fastball), that his swinging-strike rate remained north of 10 percent and that his ground-ball tendencies (50 percent) remained well above league average. Gray actually allowed home runs at his lowest rate since 2015, as well (0.97 HR/9; 13.3% HR/FB) despite pitching more than 40 percent of his innings at the homer-friendly Yankee Stadium.
The righty isn’t far removed from one of the American League’s better arms — he was an in-demand trade commodity at the 2017 deadline when the Yankees acquired him — and he entered the 2018 season with a lifetime 3.45 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 7.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 770 1/3 innings. Prior to 2018, he’d only had one season with an ERA higher than 3.55 — an injury-marred 2017 season — and had even finished third in 2015 American League Cy Young voting. While Gray surely has a long way to go to get back to that level, he’s a quality buy-low option whose $7.5MM salary should be affordable for just about any team in need of pitching help.