Even after trading for James Paxton, Yankees GM Brian Cashman shouldn’t focus solely on acquiring talents to improve the team, but also dump players who might only hold them back. That includes right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray.
In forking over their No. 1 prospect, Justus Sheffield, the Yankees made a statement of their intentions this offseason. But as a franchise, the Yankees shouldn’t simply ponder adding players to improve their team but also to upgrade their organization as a whole.
This includes improving their farm system as well as ridding the team of any dead weight. What better way to accomplish both of these objectives than in trading former Oakland A’s ace, Sonny Gray.
Gray’s career peaked early, with an admirable 2015 when he posted a 2.73 ERA over 208 IP. Gray also threw two shutouts that year, leading to a third-place Cy Young Award finish.
However, Gray finished up 2018 in the bullpen after disappointing in the rotation. In just his second season with an ERA above 3.75, the Tennessee-native had the highest WHIP of his career (1.496, tied with 2016).
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Since becoming a Yankee, Gray has consistenly been unable to limit opposing teams; further instigating the idea of a trade out of the Bronx.
Not to mention the man who runs it all, Brian Cashman, told the media that relocation might be in the near future for Gray.
Gray, 29, could still be of value to many clubs looking for a potential mid-rotation piece. Those reported to be of interest include the Athletics, Braves, Padres, Rangers and Twins.
The Yanks could continue their ambitions and look for bullpen support in any return for Gray, especially with relievers David Robertson and Zach Britton entering free agency.
But with the excess of payroll flexibility the Yankees have, I’d imagine the team will see one or both of these relievers make their return to pinstripes, as well as a potential new member to the prominent Yankee bullpen.
Also consider that the Yanks have a plethora of younger arms waiting to break into the majors, and a solid reliever can come in many shapes and forms.
Instead, the Yankees should consider trading Gray for prospects to fill their farm system. Although the Yanks recently underwent a rebuild, which saw an unexpected bump in its winning timeframe, adding young minor leaguers while having an already great team is how the Yankees could stay atop the league for a long time to come.
A farm system that was recently tops in the majors, the Yankees organization lost much of their luster in the graduation of Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Miguel Andújar and Gleyber Torres, as well as the partial integration of Clint Frazier.
To top it all off, Justus Sheffield was sent to Seattle, leaving the lower levels a skeleton of what it used to be.
Now mostly filled with pitchers, the Yanks could use some skill players — and it just so happens that all of those teams interested have top ranking farm systems, full of position players.
Fernando Tatis Jr., Francisco Mejia, Luis Urias, Royce Lewis, Leody Taveras and Kyler Murray to name a few, could intrigue the Yankees hand in making a move. Careful with Murray though, the two-sport star is still in college playing quarterback at the University of Oklahoma, but has officially signed to play with the Oakland Athletics.
Either way, Gray will likely see his Yankee career come to an end this offseason. The Yanks started the offseason with a bang by trading for James “The Big Maple” Paxton and the question now is what the Yanks will turn Gray into.