Houston Astros trade rumors have the team working hard to acquire Sonny Gray from the Oakland Athletics. Since the beginning of the 2017 MLB offseason, the Astros have remained in contact with the Athletics about Gray. A new report by MLB analyst Ken Rosenthal confirms this fact, suggesting that the Astros are still involved in negotiations to improve the starting rotation.
Gray is coming off a rough season with the Athletics, where his trade value may have taken a big hit. After posting a 14-7 record with a 2.73 ERA and 1.082 WHIP during the 2015 MLB season, Gray followed it up with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 1.496 WHIP during the 2016 MLB season. An injury did slow him down a bit, but Gray also appeared to be lost on the mound at times.
There have been a number of MLB trade rumors about Sonny Gray since the offseason began, including several linking him to the Houston Astros. It has appeared as though the Oakland Athletics are ready to deal him to the highest bidder, but that teams have been unwilling to meet an unrevealed asking price. Gray is just the latest arbitration eligible player for the Athletics to get shopped around the marketplace.
For the 2017 MLB season, Gray will earn $3.575 million during his first arbitration season. Counting the current year, he also has two additional seasons of team control. That makes him an interesting asset to acquire, as he wouldn’t become a free agent until right before the 2020 season. For the Astros, this could mean he resides in the starting rotation for a number of years. With a really good offense and a core of young talent, the Astros might be World Series contenders with an improved starting rotation.
In parts of four seasons for the Athletics, Gray has pitched in 98 games. Over 608 total innings, Gray has a 3.42 ERA, a 1.204 WHIP, and has averaged 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings. Gray has also been selected to the American League All-Star team, showing that he has had previous success which could translate to a new city. The biggest question is what city that will be for the 2017 MLB season and beyond.
If Sonny Gray can return to his 2015 form, where he pitched 208 innings over 31 starts, then he could be the type of player to propel the Houston Astros right into the playoffs. The right-hander is an affordable option in an expensive pitching market, he only just turned 27, and he would come with team control over the next three MLB seasons. All of those positives would likely increase his price tag as well because the Oakland Athletics aren’t known to just give away assets.
It’s possible that these latest Houston Astros trade rumors merely indicate that the front office is keeping tabs on Sonny Gray and that the team hopes the price will come down. The Oakland Athletics may be playing hardball in negotiations, with players like Alex Bregman becoming highly coveted. It remains unclear whether the Astros would give up a player like Bregman to improve the starting rotation, as he projects to be a star very soon. Giving up his long-term projections for a short-term gain could be viewed as a mistake by fans.
Based only on how the team performed during the 2016 MLB season, it appears very clear that the Astros still need to add an arm or two to the starting rotation. The coaches need to be able to count on the pitchers to routinely last more than six innings in a game, which has been a problem for the Astros in the past. Adding an arm like Sonny Gray would certainly give the team some momentum this offseason, which is why so many fans continue to debate the latest Houston Astros trade rumors on social media.
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