The Cincinnati Reds continue to work to bolster their rotation with the addition of Sonny Gray, who was acquired from the Yankees on Monday.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the New York Yankees have traded starting pitcher Sonny Gray to the Cincinnati Reds in an apparent three-way trade involving the Seattle Mariners. Passan details that Reds infield prospect Shed Long has been traded from the Yankees to the Mariners in exchange for center field prospect Josh Stowers.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman said back in October that the team would be open to the possibility of moving Gray during the offseason. After being traded to New York during the 2017 season, Gray saw a significant drop-off in production, particularly during the 2018 season when he went 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA.
As reported by Passan, as part of the trade deal, Gray has a three-year, $30.5 million extension in place with the Reds. So Cincinnati must believe they can help him look more like the pitcher he was early in his career with the A’s. With the exception of an injury-riddled 2016 season, Gray was excellent for the Oakland Athletics, pitching to the tune of a 2.88 ERA from 2013 to 2015.
It’s certainly a bit of a risk for Cincinnati, but Gray is still just 29 years old and his velocity in 2018 was on par with what it has been for most of his career. If he can figure things out in 2019, the Reds should have a fairly respectable rotation. They’ve already added Tanner Roark and Alex Wood this offseason. So at the very least, they’ve now got three guys most baseball fans have actually heard of in their starting five.
Despite finishing in last place in the NL Central last season, the Reds appear to be making moves geared towards winning now, rather than rebuilding for the future. Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig will certainly help their hitting situation. And the addition of Gray improves their rotation. In all likelihood, though, they still probably don’t have enough to get close to contending for an NL Central crown with the Brewers, Cubs and Cardinals. But they will be much more competitive than they have been in recent years.