Sonny Gray is headed East to the New York Yankees, as the Bronx Bombers and Oakland Athletics finally consummated a long-rumored trade with an hour to go before baseball’s trade deadline on Monday. Gray, who was drafted and developed by the A’s, represents a huge upgrade to starting rotation for a Yankees team that desperately needed it.
The A’s are reaping a solid haul for Gray, as Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian are all well-regraded prospects. Fowler was ranked fourth in the organization, while Mateo was eighth and Kaprielian was 12th according to MLB.com. Fowler is also ranked 77th in baseball on MLB.com’s top 100 list.
Gray is 27 and in his fifth major league season. He has a career record of 44-36, with an ERA of 3.42 and a WHIP of 1.20. In 16 starts this season, the Vanderbilt product is 6-5 with a 3.43 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 94 strikeouts against 30 walks in 97 innings. His best campaign came in 2015, when Gray posted a 14-7 record, a 2.73 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and tossed 208 innings with an fWAR of 3.7.
Gray is pitching extremely well of late and that’s a big bonus for the Yankees. In July he posted a 3-1 record with a 1.48 ERA, and had 25 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. He had a rough May (2-2, 4.72 ERA), which has skewed his overall numbers this season. He started the campaign on the disabled list with a strained lat, but has bounced back well following an up and down 2016 season during which he struggled with injuries as well.
He has looked like his old self lately and the Yankees are banking on his continuing in that form. With Luis Severino (7-4, 3.03 ERA) the only starter in pinstripes living up to his billing, the rotation has been a mess. Masahiro Tanaka (8-9, 5.09 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) and Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 4.15 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) haven’t been great, while CC Sabathia (9-3, 3.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) has been up and down all season. The newly added Jaime Garcia should help, but Gray is on another level.
With Michael Pineda out for the year, the Yankees needed someone to step up as a No. 1 or No. 2 option. Their only chance was to get that person via trade, and Gray fits the bill. It helps that he’s also under control for two more seasons.