Monday, January 21, 2019

Hot Stove Update: Reds Get Sonny Gray

The Cincinnati Reds made a trade today for Sonny Gray, the RHP the Yankees announced they would be trading way back in November or before.  The deal actually involves 3 teams and is quite confusing.  The Yankees sent Gray and LHP Reiver Sanmartin to the Reds for 2B Shed Long and a Competitive Balance round draft pick.  The Yankees immediately flipped Long to the Mariners for OF Josh Stowers who was Seattle's second round pick in the 2018 draft.  Gray apparently agreed to a contract extension which will be 3 yrs/$30.5 M with a $12 M team option for 2023.  There are also $500 K in incentives in the contract.

So, a lot to unpack here.  Let's start with the main actor, Sonny Gray.  He had a terrible season last year for the Yankees but had a dramatic home-road split and maintained his FB velocity, so he seems like a solid bounceback candidate.  The Yankees had seen enough, though, and announced in the early stages of the Hot Stove season that they intended to trade him.  Both the A's and Giants seemed like logical destinations as they could both use additional SP and both play in pitcher-friendly ballparks.  Gray used to play for the A's and Farhan Zaidi used to be their Assistant GM.  Giants Pitching Coach Curt Young had the same position with the A's when Gray was on Oakland.  The Reds apparently wanted him more and gave up their MLB Pipeline #7 prospect, Long, and the CB draft pick which I am sure was too rich for Zaidi to top.

Then there is the extension.  I honestly cannot imagine why the Reds would insist on a contract extension for a pitcher who was so bad last year, but it sure sounded like they would not have made the deal if Gray did not agree to the extension.  For Gray, $30.5 M is a lot of money and gives him financial security, but a strong bounceback season might have set him up for a much bigger payday next year.  The Reds could make out OK on this deal, but there is a ton of risk in it and you really have to wonder how Gray will fare pitching half his games in Great American Ballpark, not exactly Oracle Park East.

Let's take a look at the prospects in the trade:

Shed Long 2B.  DOB:  8/22/1995.  B-L, T-R.  5'8", 184 lbs.

2018 AA:  .261/.353/.412, 12 HR, 19 SB, 10.9 BB%, 23.6 K%.  Solid hitter but reportedly not a stellar defender.

Reiver Sanmartin LHP.  DOB:  4/15/1996.  6'2", 160 lbs.

2018(4 levels):  5-7, 2.81, 67.1 IP, 4 BB, 58 K's, GO/AO= 1.67.  Sanmartin pitched 5 innings at AA,  his highest level so far.  He's an extreme control artist with a strong groundball rate.

Josh Stowers OF.  DOB:  2/25/1997. B-R, T-R.  6'1", 200 lbs.

2018 Short Season:  .260/.380/.410, 15 2B, 5 HR, 20 SB, 15.2 BB%, 23.4 K%, 244 PA.  Athletic OF who can play CF.

Gotta say, the Yanks come out of this smelling like a rose(don't they always?) while the Reds got what they wanted, but maybe shouldn't have.  As usual, I am mystified why Jerry DiPoto got involved except that's what he does.

As has been the case all Hot Stove season, the Giants stayed on the sidelines.


  1. Giants and Cubs -- standing pat?
    Although the Cubs tied with Milwaukee for most wins in NL "regulation" last year, they are sort of sitting still, right up against the CBT threshold.
    They have a second interesting problem: WAR-wise their OF is almost as bad as the Giants (splitting Zobrist as half IF/OF). Almost, because is anyone as bad?

  2. Whether or not Zaidi pulls the trigger on something monumental, he doesn't appear to be under a "win-now" dictum.
    Sitting at an Estimated Luxury Tax Payroll of $172 Mil and change, he does have room to do something very un-Zaidi and even stay below the $206 Mil threshold if he sheds one of the relievers (Watson, Smith, Dyson).
    How about Longoria, Smith, and a bundle of cash (3-5 million per year) for Boston's abandoned OFer, Rusney Castillo, and Steve Pearce, which would get them a closer, a 3Bman, and partly out of their CBT hell, and the Giants would shed their long term Longo problem.