It was announced recently that the Cincinnati Reds are looking to scale down their payroll and are now fielding trade calls on starting pitcher Sonny Gray. Gray is one of the more expensive pitchers on the roster, as he is owed just north of $10 million this season and has a club option for $12 million for next year before being eligible for free agency, so it makes sense why the Reds are looking for a suitable trade partner.
Gray has been a solid pitcher for most of his career, pitching to a 3.61 ERA through 223 appearances with 1221 strikeouts and a 1.220 WHIP. He did struggle when he was a member of the Yankees back in 2017 and 2018 but has been pretty dominant since joining the Reds, posting a 3.49 ERA and a 10.0 bWAR over the past three seasons. While the Reds may be looking to move the right-hander’s contract due to salary constraints, the Blue Jays should easily be able to accommodate Gray’s salary into their plans moving forward. The bigger question is how much prospect capital the Reds want in return for one of their top pitchers and if the Blue Jays are willing to match the price.
The Toronto Blue Jays just lost a solid rotation arm in Steven Matz to free agency but there are a few options out there to replace what the club has lost.
Last season, the Jays parted with two top prospects to land Jose Berrios, who was guaranteed to be on the roster for only one and a half more seasons before becoming a free agent. These worries were squashed when he signed the seven-year extension but the asking price for Gray might be high as well, something fans will have to consider in any potential deal. Obviously, these are two different pitchers with two different skill sets but a veteran pitcher with two years of team-friendly salary control will not come cheaply.
I wouldn’t go and say the club would need to move Orelvis Martinez or Gabriel Moreno for the starter (as they most likely would not) but somebody like Alejandro Kirk or Miguel Hiraldo could get the ball moving and provide some traction on a potential deal.
One thing to be cautious of when it comes to acquiring Gray is his past performance in the AL East, as he really did struggle when he was a member of the Yankees. The Tennessee product does have impressive stats at the Rogers Centre (2.80 ERA through eight starts) but boasts a 6.35 ERA at Yankee Stadium and a 7.78 ERA at Fenway, home of the Boston Red Sox, with both teams being clubs the Blue Jays will face quite a bit considering they are in the same division. On the other hand, Gray does have great numbers at Tropicana Field (2.97 ERA through six appearances) and could be a beneficial piece for the Blue Jays when they have to play in Tampa (until they move). Pick your poison.
With Gray being available, the Jays could look to solidify the rotation and replace Steven Matz with the veteran right-hander and his 3.4 bWAR from last season. The question will be what the price tag will be for his services and whether Ross Atkins and co. are willing to part with it to bring him to Toronto.