The Oakland Athletics have agreed to trade starting pitcher Sonny Gray to the New York Yankees. It was speculated for some time that Oakland would cash in on Gray’s value before it was too late. They did exactly that as the A’s will receive Yankees No. 4, 8, and 12 prospects in Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo, and James Kaprielian.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2017
Sonny Gray Traded to the New York Yankees
The biggest benefit for the Yankees in adding Gray at this point is team control. Gray remains under contract and arbitration eligible for 2018 and 2019.
Gray was arguably the best starting pitcher available on the trade market this season. Jose Quintana was also available before being recently acquired by the Chicago Cubs. Quintana has made five more starts than Gray this season, but Gray has been much more effective to date. Gray holds an ERA a half point lower than Quintana along with a stronger WHIP, walk rate, and home run rate.
It is important to remember that Gray is just two seasons removed from a third-place Cy Young finish in the AL. Gray endeared a rough 2016 season that saw him battle injuries and ineffectiveness. He posted career highs in losses, ERA, and walks per nine innings on his way to a 5-11 record over 22 starts.
This season has provided encouragement that Gray has rebounded from his 2016 struggles. His walk, home run, and hit rates are all back into the normal range for a pitcher of his caliber. His strikeout rate has even climbed back up above his career average. In fact, his strikeout rate and strikeout-to-walk ratio are currently his highest in his career since his rookie season.
Two of the prospects in this deal (Kaprielian and Fowler) are dealing with serious injuries. Still, the Yankees did give up a lot in obtaining Gray, but the cost of pitching is always high. Gray is at least a solid bet to be productive over the remaining two years of his contract and provide a boost to a team in the midst of a competitive season.