Oh, they did that already? OK, well swap Clarke Schmidt in for James Kaprielian and try it again.
We don’t have all day to fix this team, Larry Rothschild’s gone to San Diego, and Gray’s still controllable through 2023 on a team option for that final year.
Will it happen? Extremely doubtful. Toothpaste doesn’t get pushed back into the tube that easily, especially with this fan base. But as Gray hits the IL again with a minor bruise and is poised to be out of sight, out of mind until the deadline, it’s worth considering a hybrid play for beyond this season, and it’s time to litigate whether the Yankees should consider dipping back into this very fraught pool.
Now, Gray doesn’t have express veto power, but if his Yankees tenure really went as poorly as it seemed to on the surface, and he assured the Reds he wouldn’t prosper in the Bronx (even with the assurance Aaron Boone will be gone soon), they would never force him into a deal. Plenty of teams would be interested in the righty.
If he’s somewhat interested in running things back, though…if his name weren’t Sonny Gray, you’d all agree he fit the profile perfectly of a starter that can help bridge the gap to the next great Yankees team, which very well might come in 2022.
Should the…Yankees…try to target a Sonny Gray trade?
Gray went from Smilin’ Fool to Cy Young in one season after leaving the Yankees for the Reds (surprised?), finishing seventh in the race in a sterling 2019 season. This year, he’s been excellent once again, whiffing 80 men in 62.0 innings despite hitting the IL a few separate times with unrelated (and non-permanent) nicks and bruises.
The righty’s clearly a creature of habit, and was harmed in New York by the team’s proclivity to mess with his arsenal. Needless to say, linking up with his old Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson in Cincy has been extremely beneficial. However, now Gray has empirical evidence that his approach and emphases work. If the Yankees reacquired him, they’d have to go about things his way. There’d be a clear caveat to the move.
With plenty of data to the contrary, though, 2016 and 2018 now look like outliers rather than a downward trend, and it would make sense that Gray would have at least two more prime years to be enjoyed. On a moribund, stuck-in-the-middle Reds team? Why would either side prefer that?
There’s obviously a negative history here. We’re not kidding ourselves.
The Reds, though, seem among the most fertile trade partners, stuck in the mud about one level deeper than the Yanks, who have many problems of their own. The Yankees need pitching, and probably shouldn’t pay up for Luis Castillo, an addition that seems riskier than ever. The Yankees need lefties, and Cincinnati has Jesse Winker headed to the All-Star Game.
Perhaps Gray becomes part of a much larger deal that satisfies both sides? The last time these two teams linked up in non-Gray-related business, Aroldis Chapman ended up in the Bronx. There could be something very fruitful here (for many reasons), and you’d be a little foolish to strike Gray from the record before rethinking it.