Tag: Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray Traded to Cincinnati Reds; Yanks Acquire Stowers From Seattle

Yankees engage in second trade with Mariners to acquire their No. 10 prospect.

5:15 PM: The second trade is now official, sending Long from the Yankees to Seattle for Stowers. If we’re basing length of Yankees career by @YankeesPR tweets, Long was a Yankee for 10 minutes.

5:05 PM: The Yankees have announced the first part of today’s trades, as Gray and Sanmartín are officially members of the Reds now. No word on the follow-up trade with Seattle.

4:41 PM: There’s a wrinkle to this deal now, as Jeff Passan reports the Yankees have now flipped Shed Long to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers.

Stowers was the 54th overall pick in the 2018 draft, and was ranked No. 10 in the Mariners farm system. He started his career in Short-A, where he hit .260/.380/.410 (126 wRC+) with five home runs. Stowers does not have to be protected on the 40-man roster until December 2021, whereas Long would have to be placed on the Yankees’ 40-man roster.

With thinned-out outfield depth rearing its ugly head last season, the Yankees replenish by adding Stowers to their system. I’d imagine he’ll being 2019 in Extended Spring Training before going to either Charleston or Staten Island before finishing the season in Tampa.

4:09 PM: Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Gray has officially been traded to Cincinnati.

Gray has agreed to a three-year, $30.5 million extension with a $12.5 million club option for 2023, according to Rosenthal. Long, formerly the Reds’ No. 7 prospect, will be part of the Yankees’ return, per Passan. The Yankees will receive the No. 36 overall pick in the 2019 Rule 4 Draft as well. The Yankees will send 22-year-old lefty Reiver Sanmartín to the Reds to complete the deal.

12:19 PM: The Yankees “had … deals with other clubs in place Friday,” and could pivot if the Reds are unable to agree to an extension with Gray and his agent by the deadline today, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The deadline for negotiations could be 5 p.m. or midnight, though it is unclear which according to Feinsand.

Previous reports have indicated the Athletics, Braves, Brewers, Giants and more could be interested in dealing for Gray still.

10:30 AM: The moment Brian Cashman had indicated would come in November 2018 seems to have finally arrived. Per multiple reports across baseball media, the Yankees will trade right-hander Sonny Gray to the Cincinnati Reds pending negotiations on an extension to keep him at Great American Ballpark.

The reported return for Gray would be Reds No. 7 prospect Shed Long, as well as the Reds’ Competitive Balance A pick in the 2019 Rule 4 Draft. That pick will be No. 36 overall. This return appears dependent on the Reds working out an extension with Gray within the 72-hour negotiating window, which reportedly ends “late Monday,” per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The Reds appear ready to buy into a bounce-back campaign from Gray, who stumbled to a 4.90 ERA and was demoted to long relief by the end of the 2018 campaign. The 29-year-old held a great 3.17 ERA away from Yankee Stadium, and limited opponents to a .614 OPS in a 71-inning sample away from the Bronx. At Yankee Stadium, however, Gray got bombed to a 6.98 ERA and .932 OPS against. To use player comparisons, hitters averaged Nolan Arenado numbers at Yankee Stadium while putting up worse than Billy Hamilton numbers on the road.

Despite pitching fewer innings at home, Gray walked 13 more batters in the Bronx and allowed eight more home runs. Something about the crowd or the construction of the stadium made Gray nibble, or lose command of his pitches. Then, once in trouble because of walks, he could never make the big pitch to get out of his own mess.

It remains to be seen how Gray will do at Great American Ballpark, which had a less favorable park factor for pitchers (per Baseball Reference) in 2018.

It’s pretty amazing that Brian Cashman could turn Gray into a top-10 prospect. Shed Long, a 23-year-old converted catcher, was a 12th-round pick of the Reds in 2013. His position change to second base in 2015 led to an offensive breakout in 2016, which saw him hit .293/.371/.471 with 15 home runs between Class-A Dayton and High-A Daytona.

His development continued in 2017 by repeating most of the season in Daytona, with a stellar .922 OPS in 62 games. He then spent the final 42 games in Double-A Pensacola with a .680 OPS, although he missed time with a wrist injury. He played 126 games at Double-A in 2018, hitting .261/.353/.412 with 12 home runs. He also had a 19-game cameo in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .241/.333/.310 for Scottsdale.

From his MLB Pipeline scouting report: “As long as he can maintain average, or close to it, defense, Long should have a long career as an offensive-minded second baseman. His bat shouldn’t take too much longer to be ready for Great American Ball Park.”

The more intriguing possibility for the Yankees here is the No. 37 pick in the 2019 draft. Brian Cashman has always pursued extra opportunities to acquire high-quality talent. Are they acquiring the pick just to stockpile, or are they planning to incur some kind of draft pick penalty in the future? If the Yankees go over $246 million in payroll, they would “have their highest selection in the next Rule 4 Draft moved back 10 places”. That would have them pick 40th instead of at 30. Should they sign Bryce Harper, or any other free agent who was extended a qualifying offer, they would forfeit their second-round pick (No. 68) as well as $500,000 from their international bonus pool.

Either way, the pick could bring massive benefit to the Yankees.

CC Sabathia Cleared to Begin Working Out

The 38-year-old should be ready for Feb. 13 in Tampa despite an early-December health scare.

CC Sabathia took an important step towards being ready for February’s Pitchers & Catchers reporting date, as the team announced Tuesday that he has been cleared by doctors to begin working out after an early-December angioplasty.

The veteran lefty had a stent inserted Dec. 11 after experiencing “acid reflux, heartburn and an increased amount of perspiration while riding an exercise bike,” according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. After a hospital evaluation, Sabathia “is said to have an excellent short-term and long-term prognosis.”

“We’re thankful for CC responding or reacting to the complaints he was having in such an intelligent way to make sure he got the care necessary, so there were no serious consequences,” GM Brian Cashman said.

The Yankees had put a pause on their trade negotiations surrounding Sonny Gray as they awaited confirmation that Sabathia was still on track for Feb. 13. Gray, as I’m sure you know, has generated trade interest from up to 11 different teams this offseason. Cashman had said that they might hold onto Gray in order to ensure they would be protected if Sabathia’s heart issue would delay his arrival in Tampa.

Sabathia will still be forced to sit out the first five games of 2019 after hitting Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesús Sucre with a pitch in retaliation for a pitch thrown behind the head of Austin Romine.

Hot Stove Notes: Gray, Germán, Ottavino, Tulowitzki

Sonny Gray could be here much longer than anyone expected.

With Zach Britton back in pinstripes pending a physical, there are a few other storylines involving the Bronx Bombers as there are just 37 days until Pitchers & Catchers are due in Tampa:

CC Sabathia‘s Health Could Delay Sonny Gray Trade

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The Yankees are considering holding on to right-hander Sonny Gray because of CC Sabathia‘s recent angioplasty. Brian Cashman insisted early in the offseason that Gray would absolutely be traded prior to the 2019 season.

“Our intention is to move Sonny Gray and relocate him when we get the proper return, in our estimation,” Cashman said. “It’ll happen this winter, it’ll happen in the spring or it’ll happen sometime during the season. The CC circumstance certainly has given us pause, because we want to make sure that we’re covered and protected.”

Sabathia had a stent inserted during an emergency angioplasty in early December when a blocked artery was found in his heart. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported that “While the Yankees have said that they expect the 38-year-old Sabathia to report to Spring Training on time, Cashman has slowed negotiations concerning Gray until Sabathia clears an array of follow-up visits scheduled for this month.”

Per Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the San Diego Padres continue to be in touch with the Yankees about Gray, and have been connected to him all winter. As many as 11 teams have been connected to Gray at some point this offseason, though Cashman appears to be narrowing his focus.

Domingo Germán Granted Fourth Option Year

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A minor housekeeping note about right-handed pitcher Domingo Germán: he has been granted a fourth option year because he spent an entire optional assignment year on the disabled list. After being acquired in the 2014 offseason alongside Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones for David Phelps and Martin Prado, Germán missed all of 2015 after burning his first option because of Tommy John surgery. Cashman announced the news during the conference call announcing Troy Tulowitzki‘s signing, and also noted that fellow righty Luis Cessa will be entering 2019 out of options.

Yanks “More Engaged” on Ottavino Than Machado

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The reliever market is moving, and Andy Martino of SNY is reporting that the Yankees are currently “more engaged on Adam Ottavino than Manny Machado“. Martino cited that Machado’s decision-making process appears to be “still moving at glacial pace” and that the bullpen “market is moving and Ottavino could sign soon”.

Earlier in the offseason, the Yankees weren’t included in the list of teams that were in talks with Ottavino. The most cited were the Red Sox, Rockies and White Sox. Now, even with Britton in agreement to return to the Bronx, the Yankees “are continuing to pursue Ottavino,” per Jon Heyman of Fancred.

Ottavino, for his part, turned in another fantastic season as the setup man for Wade Davis in Colorado. In 75 games, he owned a 2.43 ERA (2.74 FIP) and a 193 ERA+.

No Utility Role Discussed With Tulowitzki

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It seems the Yankees will use Troy Tulowitzki exclusively at shortstop for his Yankees tenure. Andy Martino of SNY reports that the Bombers’ pitch to the former All-Star “was fully centered around an opportunity to play short”. Tulowitzki will begin 2019 suiting up at the same position as his idol, Derek Jeter, and will have the luxury of a no-trade clause accompanying his league-minimum contract. Tulowitzki has yet to record a professional inning away from shortstop, and it appears that won’t change with the Yankees.

New Year Notes: Bullpen, Gray, Machado, Profar

Manny Machado ignited a fury among Yankee fans with a simple Instagram follow.

We’re officially into 2019, and it feels like Spring Training is right around the corner. Here are a few recent storylines to follow:

While Awaiting Machado, Yanks Weigh Bullpen Options

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While star infielder Manny Machado is finalizing his decision between Chicago, Philadelphia and New York, the Yankees are working to solidify their bullpen, according to Fancred‘s Jon Heyman. Their focus is currently on top guys like former Yankees Zach Britton and David Robertson, as well as former Colorado Rockies setup man Adam Ottavino. The Yankees face competition for all three players, and Heyman noted that the Red Sox have been interested in all three as well.

Brewers, Padres Remain in on Gray; Reds “Fading” in Trade Talks

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As Brian Cashman continues to weigh offers from many teams for Sonny Gray, it seems the Cincinnati Reds “have faded” in in their pursuit of Gray after acquiring Tanner Roark from Washington and Alex Wood from Los Angeles, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.

Morosi noted in the same tweet that the Milwaukee Brewers “remain prominent” in trade discussions with the Yankees after losing multiple starters from their rotation to free agency. MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell also reported that the San Diego Padres are “very much a part of trade talks” for Gray.

It had been reported a few weeks back that as many as 11 teams had inquired with the Yankees about the right-hander. Now, it looks like Cashman is whittling down his list of teams and I would imagine Gray is traded in the next six weeks before Spring Training begins.

Machado Follows, Then Unfollows, YES Network on Instagram

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Manny Machado (possibly inadvertently) started a firestorm on Twitter last night after his Instagram account followed the YES Network for a short period of time. The TV station’s account then followed Machado’s account in return. This lasted for about an hour or two before both accounts unfollowed each other.

It’s no secret that the Yankees and Machado have had mutual admiration for awhile, and the Yankees are one of the final three teams competing for the 26-year-old’s services. He had visited the three home cities of those interested teams, and is likely to announce his signing in the next few weeks.

Yankees Showed Interest in Profar Before Trade to Oakland

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Before the Oakland A’s, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers linked up on a three-team deal that sent infielder Jurickson Profar to Oakland, the Yankees made one last attempt at a player they’ve been connected with for a few years now.  Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reported the Bombers were not “willing to give up much” for the 25-year-old former top prospect. The Rangers wound up receiving four minor leaguers and $750K in international signing bonus pool money for Profar, who will now replace Jed Lowrie as Oakland’s starting second baseman.

After being connected last offseason, the Yankees apparently had discussed a one-for-one swap of Profar for Sonny Gray. The Rangers, citing Profar’s extra year of control, wanted more from New York and it appears talks broke down from there.

Yankees Agree With J.A. Happ on Two-Year Deal

The 2019 New York Yankees starting rotation is starting to come into focus, as the team has agreed with veteran left-hander J.A. Happ on a two-year, $34-million deal that would bring him back to the Bronx. The deal also contains a vesting option for the 2021 season based on innings pitched.

Happ came to the Yankees in exchange for infielder Brandon Drury and outfielder Billy McKinney ahead of the 2018 Trade Deadline. He pitched lights-out for 11 starts in pinstripes, going 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA (4.21 FIP) as the team captured their second consecutive home-field spot in the Wild Card game.

“He was a performer; took the ball every five days,” Cashman said. “He was a competitor, came as advertised, a real pro. He had a veteran presence within that clubhouse, knew exactly what was necessary and brought it every five days in the most competitive division in all of baseball and the world. He checks all the boxes on that side of it.”

The playoffs were a different animal, though. Happ made just one start, lasting two innings and allowing five earned runs in Game 1 of the American League Division Series in Boston. The big blow in that game was a three-run home run by J.D. Martinez.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had reported earlier in the day that the two sides were in agreement on a deal with three guaranteed years, though he walked that report back to say they were simply gaining momentum.

Happ had also been courted by the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies, both teams he has pitched for in the past. The Phillies were hesitant to give Happ more than two guaranteed years, and it appears his recent familiarity with the Bronx plus the prospect of the vesting option prompted his return.

The Yankees may not be done in their pursuit of a starting pitcher, as injuries and ineffectiveness typically rear their ugly heads over the course of a 162-game season. They learned that the hard way when Jordan Montgomery went down for 18 months after just six starts because of Tommy John surgery in 2018.

The team wound up getting 24 starts from Chance Adams, Luis Cessa, Domingo Germán and Jonathan Loáisiga combined, and the team went 12-12 in those games. Sonny Gray, who was acquired to anchor the top of the rotation, started in 12 Yankees losses and was demoted to the bullpen in favor of Lance Lynn after August 1.

“It doesn’t mean we would be out of the market altogether. Obviously the Paxton acquisition gave us the ability to be a lot more disciplined and patient,” Cashman said. “If we pull down another one it will put us in a much stronger position to feel better about the rotation. But that doesn’t preclude us to being open-minded about any options that develop over time.”

With the acquisition of James Paxton and agreement with Happ, the Yankees find their starting rotation in exponentially better shape than last year.

Yankees, Mets, Marlins Discussing 3-Way Realmuto-Syndergaard Trade

Could the Yankees end up with an ace by helping their crosstown rivals?

Just as most on the East Coast were winding down for the night, baseball’s Hot Stove heated up in a huge way from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Yankees, Mets and Marlins had discussed a three-way deal where the Mets would acquire star catcher J.T. Realmuto from Miami, and in turn would send a starting pitcher like Noah Syndergaard to the Bronx.

Nothing was imminent, and SNY’s Andy Martino did report “there are ’10 other scenarios’ Mets are considering” in a trade for Realmuto. The Mets have been especially active on the trade market, and have been looking to upgrade the catcher position for a while now. Should they be unable to land Realmuto, they’re expected to pivot to free-agent Yasmani Grandal.

Jon Heyman of Fancred was the first to suggest that the Yankees, who insisted Gary Sánchez was their catcher for 2019, were connected to Realmuto for the sake of facilitating a three-way trade. The obvious advantage for the Yankees would be the chance to acquire a marquee starter like Syndergaard at a slight discount should they assist with the acquisition of Realmuto.

Martino also noted that the Yankees were “interested in Mets pitching, not necessarily limited to Syndergaard”. Other appealing pitchers include Jacob deGrom (of course, that’s unlikely), Steven Matz (under control for years but often injured) and Zack Wheeler (rental). The only named mentioned by reporters last night was that of Syndergaard, though the Yankees had scouted Wheeler at the 2018 Trade Deadline.

I’d expect the Yankees top chips like Miguel Andújar, Estevan Florial and more to be on the table if someone of Syndergaard’s quality is being discussed. Andújar is only being moved for someone that good. If talks were to pivot to someone like Matz or Wheeler, I’d be taking both Andújar and Florial off the table. Max Wildstein of Gotham Sports Network mentioned Chance Adams, Clint Frazier, Sonny Gray, Mike King and Jonathan Loáisiga as possibilities to be moved.

Martino said the Yankees were “pushing hard” to make a deal, though it’s unclear where the three teams left talks. The push for Realmuto will be intense, and it’s unclear if the Mets (and the three-team scenario with the Yankees) is the package they’ll accept.


Yankees Tender Contracts to All on 40-Man Roster

All pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players were tendered contracts by the Yankees by the 8 p.m. ET deadline Friday.

The team and players did not have to reach specific figures by that deadline, but the Yankees were required to at least extend an offer. Players and teams must have exchanged arbitration figures by Jan. 11, 2019, and then hearings will run from Feb. 1 to Feb. 20. Players who are not yet eligible for arbitration (less than three years service time) typically agree to their 1-year split-level deals in early-March. The Yankees agreed to deals with all of their arbitration eligible players ahead of the deadline last year.

Here’s everyone eligible for arbitration this year with their 2018 salary and 2019 projection from MLB Trade Rumors:

  • RHP Dellin Betances
    • 2018 salary: $5.1 million
    • 2019 projection: $6.4 million
  • 1B Greg Bird
    • 2018 salary: $582K
    • 2019 projection: $1.5 million
  • RHP Sonny Gray
    • 2018 salary: $6.5 million
    • 2019 projection: $9.1 million
  • SS Didi Gregorius
    • 2018 salary: $8.25 million
    • 2019 projection: $12.4 million
  • CF Aaron Hicks
    • 2018 salary: $2.825 million
    • 2019 projection: $6.2 million
  • RHP Tommy Kahnle
    • 2018 salary: $1.3125 million
    • 2019 projection: $1.5 million
  • LHP James Paxton
    • 2018 salary: $4.9 million
    • 2019 projection: $9 million
  • Austin Romine
    • 2018 salary: $1.1 million
    • 2019 projection: $2 million
  • RHP Luis Severino
    • 2018 salary: $604.975K
    • 2019 projection: $5.1 million

The two players closest to being non-tendered, in my opinion, were Gray and Gregorius. Gray was awful in 2018, and Brian Cashman is determined to trade him this offseason. Didi Gregorius is set to miss at least the first half of 2019, though the Yankees could work with him on a myriad of contract options as this is his final year of arbitration.

Everyone else, with the exception of the guaranteed contracts for Aroldis Chapman, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Giancarlo Stanton and Masahiro Tanaka, has less than three years of service time and will have their split-level deals revealed later on. They get paid one salary for MLB service and a much smaller one for the minor leagues.

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