Yankees: Revisiting the Yankees trading Sonny Gray to the Reds

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 29: Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds reaches to pick up a baseball before pitching during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on July 29, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds defeated the Cubs 12-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 29: Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds reaches to pick up a baseball before pitching during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on July 29, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds defeated the Cubs 12-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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We revisited the first Yankees-Sonny Gray trade, now let’s look at the second one.

It’s safe to say just about every New York Yankees fan is confounded by the way BOTH Sonny Gray trades executed by the organization turned out. When the Bombers acquired him from the Oakland Athletics, everyone thought the rotation was finally getting a bonafide ace. Instead, the trade worked out for nobody.

Gray pitched himself out of the Bronx and was even relegated to the bullpen in 2018. He finished his Yankees career with a dismal 15-16 record, 4.51 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 41 games (34 starts). So, as you do, the Yankees went ahead and shipped him out of town before the 2019 season.

He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds (in a three-way deal with the Seattle Mariners) in exchange for outfield prospect Josh Stowers and a competitive balance round A pick. Somehow, the worst stretch of Gray’s career quickly morphed into an All-Star campaign in 2019 and a league-leading effort in 2020.

Seriously … what???? Gray couldn’t pitch to the bottom of American League lineups and now he’s mowing down the NL, registering a 2.69 ERA in 34 starts with the Reds since he arrived in Cincinnati. On top of that, he’s since ripped the Yankees for his struggles in New York.

Could this have gone ANY worse? Just imagine if Gerrit Cole was joined by this version of Gray in the rotation. The Yanks might be 9-0 right now.

We know how the Reds made out here, but what about the Bombers? Well, with their competitive balance pick last year, general manager Brian Cashman selected pitcher TJ Sikkema out of Missouri. Though he only made four starts for Staten Island in Single-A, the left-hander allowed one run in 10.2 innings (which somehow equated to four starts), good for a 0.84 ERA and 0.66 WHIP. He struck out 13 batters and walked just one.

As for Stowers, though he had a forgetful performance in last year’s Arizona Fall League, he was solid at Single-A Charleston, slashing .273/.386/.400 with 61 runs scored, 7 home runs, 40 RBI and 35 stolen bases. We’ll take it! Shed Long, of course, is now in the Mariners’ starting lineup at 24.

It’ll be a while before we know how this officially turns out for the Bombers, but it’s hard to even call this a loss to begin with. The Yankees traded a multitude of spare parts to acquire him to begin with, and then shipped him off again for a couple of promising future pieces after he clearly had no fit in New York.

Let’s hope the sequel turns out better than the original, however.