The Yankees are all but confirmed to trade Sonny Gray, and the Giants could be a good fit for the right-hander.
By: Noah Wright
It’s pretty clear that Sonny Gray’s value couldn’t be lower than after 2018. The Yankees have already stated that they’ll be trying to deal Gray over the off season, and it could even more likely that they’ll bring CC Sabathia back, as he’s stated that he is willing to return, even after knee surgery. So when I look at potential fits for Sonny Gray, I think The Giants are one of the best fits for Gray, and here’s why.
The first thing that falls into The Giants favor is his likely low price. Plus The Giants don’t exactly have a great farm system, so that should also make them in the hunt for Gray. 2018 has probably the second worst of his career. He had a 4.90 ERA, 4.17 FIP, with tied career high 1.496 WHIP, and a career high walk rate of 3.9 BB/9. Plus opponents barrelled him up pretty good, as evident by his career high 35.5% hard hit rate, and hit for a .326 BABIP. This led him to being demoted to a long relief role out of the pen. In total, he pitched in 130.1 innings.
But The Giants can find much value in Sonny Gray. To start off, he performed much better outside of New York. In NY, opponents hit Gray for a batting line of .318/.406/.529, which resulted in a home ERA of nearly 7 (6.98). But outside of NY, batters really struggled against him, only hitting .226/.295/.320., and had an ERA of 3.17. His FIP away looked even better at 2.64. However the one thing I think that will really help Gray turn it around is the coaching. Between 2013 and 2015, Sonny Gray produced a 2.88 ERA, 3.36 FIP, and 1.134 WHIP. His peripherals were OK overall. His K/9 of 7.7 is good but not impressive, but his 2.8 BB/9 and .7 HR/9 is impressive. To go along with that, he finished 3rd in Cy Young voting in 2015. While most of his tenure in Oakland was successful (except for his dreaded 2016 season), it could be because of the pitching coach. A good coach can make all the difference and in mid-June 2017, The A’s let Curt Young, The A’s pitching coach between 2012- June 2017, latched on to San Francisco.
In the end, I don’t think this trade could go bad for The Giants. Gray could first be acquired for a mid-level prospect at most, so low cost potential reward, especially since Gray won’t likely be paid a high amount in 2019. Then if Gray produces well, The Giants could either trade him off for a similar, if not better at the deadline if they’re out of it, and if a contending team is desperate to acquire good starting pitching, even if it is just for a rental, or if The Giants are in the race for a playoff spot, well they just found a diamond in the rough. If he does bad, The Giants could either outright release him and eat the not-budget killing salary, or he could help them tank, and reach a higher draft pick for 2020.