Vietnam English Information News

Why potential Sonny Gray trade haul could surprise Yankees

The Yankees are getting a lot of play about possibly signing free agent Patrick Corbin, retaining J.A. Happ and talking to Seattle about James Paxton. They have been linked to the Indians’ Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. But Sonny Gray still has trade value despite a poor 2018 season and general manager Brian Cashman has been blunt about dealing the right-hander.

Talent evaluators from three clubs who watched Gray this past season said there is a market that could deliver value for the 29-year-old right-hander despite his 11-9 record with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games (23 starts) this past season and the fact he was not on either of the Yankees’ two postseason rosters.

Since the Yankees’ system has been depleted by trades and players such as Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and Chad Green reaching the big leagues, there might be enough interest in Gray to help replenish things.

“I think there will be legitimate interest,” an NL evaluator said. “Some teams will look at him as a bounce-back guy once he is out of New York. I don’t know what they are looking for [in return]. He is still young and has good stuff. Maybe get him out of the AL East.”

The colossal difference between Gray at Yankee Stadium and outside The Bronx will likely have other clubs believing leaving New York will benefit Gray.

In 15 games (11 starts) at Yankee Stadium, Gray went 4-4 with a woeful 6.98 ERA, and hitters posted a .932 OPS against him. On the road, Gray was 7-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 15 games (12 starts) and limited hitters to a .614 OPS.

“I like Sonny Gray. He has good stuff that is good enough to be successful,’’ another NL scout said. “What is puzzling is that he is a pitcher who has good stuff and pitched for a team that scored a lot of runs. He pitched up and made a lot of mistakes. Still, he is more than capable of being a rotation starter.’’

An AL front office evaluator said Gray has value because of the state of starting pitchers available in the big leagues.

“I think he [has value] because with the way starting pitching is right now, you look at him as a reclamation project,” the evaluator said of Gray, who went 44-36 with a 3.42 ERA in 124 games (122 starts) for the Athletics before being dealt to the Yankees on July 31, 2017, for prospects Dustin Fowler, James Kaprielian and Jorge Mateo. “There has to be value with what starting pitching has become.”

With Corbin possibly topping the $100 million mark and Happ, who is expected to draw serious interest from multiple teams and is in line to better the three-year deal for $36 million that expired this season, the Yankees could bolster their rotation via trades if they miss out on the lefty free agents.

The Yankees are always aggressive in talks with other teams, and it’s not a surprise they have inquired about Paxton. The Athletic first reported the Yankees-Mariners talks.

Paxton, who turned 30 this week, went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 28 starts this past season and is 23-11 with a 3.40 ERA in 52 starts the past two seasons. In 102 career starts, Paxton is 41-26 with a 3.42 ERA. He has two arbitration years remaining after making $4.9 million this past season and can be a free agent following the 2020 season.