Yankees Update: What's the deal with Sonny Gray?
2018 was a trying season for the once highly-touted Sonny Gray. Upon his mid-season arrival in 2017, Yankees fans rejoiced at the assumption that their team had landed an elite front of the rotation starter.
However, things have not gone as planned for Gray during his tenure in pinstripes, ultimately resulting in him being demoted to the bullpen. Even GM Brian Cashman went on record after the Yankees' ALDS loss saying that the team would be looking for a trade partner to unload Gray during the offseason.
Will the Yankees actually trade Sonny Gray?
Here is where the picture starts to get a bit murkier. The Yankees' lack of depth in their starting rotation was well-documented last season and although they've brought in the ever-reliable James Paxton, veteran CC Sabathia recently had to undergo an unexpected heart procedure in December.
While the Yankees expect Sabathia to be back in time for spring training, his injury highlighted just how thin the options at starting pitcher are. With young gun Jordan Montgomery still on the mend from Tommy John surgery and Domingo German being an unreliable commodity thus far, the Yankees have started to backtrack on the idea of trading Gray.
If the Yankees trade Gray, where will he go?
Right now, the most likely trade partner for the Yankees and Gray happens to be the San Diego Padres. Reportedly, the Padres have been by far the most aggressive suitor with considerable interest in moving for Gray. The Padres boast the 2nd ranked farm system in the league, so there should be no shortage of assets on their end to get the deal done.
However, it remains to be seen what a player like Gray would command on the trade market. At his best, Gray is a ground ball inducing machine who churns out quality start after quality start. More recently, we've seen a Sonny Gray that struggles to make it out of the 3rd inning and routinely gets hit hard by opposing lineups.
It isn't unrealistic to expect some decent assets in return, but Gray will likely command a much lower price than that of which the Yankees paid to get him.
What happens if the Yankees keep gray?
Although Cashman has gone on record initially saying that he wanted to move Gray, he also spoke highly of his untapped ability. Clearly, Cashman still likes Sonny Gray, he just feels that he hasn't been the best fit in pinstripes.
The Yankees pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, has worked wonders with former struggling phenom Luis Severino before. Should the Yankees be forced to hang onto Sonny Gray, expect the team to dedicate a considerable amount of time towards trying to fix whatever has slowed him down.
The Yankees have no shortage of legendary names they can call upon to help Gray make some adjustments, even longtime rival Pedro Martinez has put aside the bad blood to help mentor Luis Severino.
It isn't unrealistic to think that with the proper tutelage, Gray could return to form and be a stabilizing force in the Yankees' rotation. However, given the Yankees have already had a year to try and fix his issues (to no avail), this doesn't seem like the most plausible scenario.
The Yankees have undoubtedly backed themselves into an odd situation here where they publicly admitted they have lost faith in Gray, but may be forced to keep him due to injuries to key starting rotation members. Only time will tell where Gray ends up and how the rest of his career pans out, but one can only hope that this is all just a part of mastermind GM Brian Cashman's grand plan.