It may not seem logical to add by subtracting, but that is what the Yankees may be ready to do. The Bronx Bombers are in need of a talented starting pitcher, or two. Sonny Gray is a talented pitcher, regardless of what his slash line may say, but he simply isn’t thriving as a Yankee. He wouldn’t be the first pitcher to have that problem. Sometimes the bright lights, intense media scrutiny, and the pressure of being on a perennial contender are too much for a player to handle. If that’s the case with Sonny Gray, then it is in fact time for GM Brian Cashman to move him for a different piece.
Nick Carfado at The Boston Globe pointed out that Gray may be a guy that thrives with a small market team but doesn’t quite cut the mustard on the biggest of stages. Just because Gray is struggling, however, doesn’t mean he has no value. New York paid a steep price for him by moving three solid prospects, but they got him under a contract with long-term team control which is enticing. He is arbitration eligible after 2019, according to NJ.com, so that will also help make Gray an attractive acquisition for someone. It has been rumored a move back to Oakland may even be possible for Gray.
The Yankees are reported to have interest in Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer, and it is possible that when accountants move the numbers around, some package including the pair could happen. The Yankees won’t get even value back on what they paid for Gray, but for the right team, Gray could be a dependable third starter this season. For all of his struggles this year, Gray maintained a positive outlook in an interview at Bleacher Report, which also indicates he has gas in the tank still. Maybe not enough to go far in New York, but somewhere.
“You go through things at times and it’s how you respond. I feel like I’m a realistic person, I can read the writing on the wall. I feel like I’m somewhat of a smart guy. I’m not a baseball player. I’m a human being that plays baseball. It’s the old cliche: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. When I say I’m learning to flush it and go to the next hitter, I’m not letting things get to me. You have to learn to control it within the game, and that is very challenging.”
If Cashman doesn’t see any offers for Gray he feels will help, the Yankees may continue giving the ball to him every fifth start. As Ken Rosenthal and others have pointed out, all Gray really needs to do is keep the score in touch for five innings and turn it over to the bullpen. While Gray appears to be settling down a bit, for how long is the question.