The New York Yankees continue to get better. While that may seem like bad news for the Seattle Mariners, it could lead to an interesting possibility. How could the Yankees success benefit the Mariners?
The Yankees have already added 2 significant pieces to their club in the form of Zach Britton and J.A. Happ. Now, they may have their eyes on Tampa Bay Ray’s starter Chris Archer. The Yankees have rotation depth as is, thus a pretty good pitcher is probably gonna get bumped from the rotation. Behold, an opportunity for the Mariners!
The Mariners were believed to have interest in Sonny Gray in the middle of last season before he was traded to the Yankees for 3 prospects. Now, Jerry Dipoto might get another shot. Teams have talked to the Yankees about Gray. It seems highly likely the Mariners are one of those teams. Dipoto checks on everybody.
But as things stand right now, the Yankees have little reason to move Gray. If they add another starter, it could open up the possibility. The cost would not be cheap. But is Sonny Gray a good fit for the Mariners? In short, yes.
Gray, a 28-year-old right-handed pitcher is a bit of an interesting profile. A 5-10, 190 lbs pitcher, Gray is diminutive compared to many starters. But he has remained relatively durable throughout his career, posting solid numbers along the way.
A career 3.64 ERA is backed up by a solid 3.75 FIP. This goes along with an average strikeout and walks numbers. In short, Gray is a good, but not great, pitcher. However, a quick glance at his numbers shows a pretty rough 2018 season.
In his 20 starts, Gray has posted a 5.08 ERA with nearly 4 BB/9, and a 1.46 WHIP. Yikes. In fact, throughout his Yankee career, Sonny Gray has been a bit of a disappointment, posting a career 4.55 FIP in 166.2 innings.
However, the splits tell an interesting story. At Yankee Stadium, opponents slash .296/.388/.505 against Gray. However, everywhere else opponents slash .237/.304/.343. Whether is the ballpark, or just a bad fit for Gray in New York, it does point to some upside left in Gray.
Additionally, Gray will not be a free agent until after the 2019 season, so he fits the Dipoto mold of no rentals. The real issue for the Mariners in a Sonny Gray pursuit is the prospect capital. He isn’t making enough money to scare away small market clubs. He’s not old enough to scare away rebuilding teams. Gray is gonna cost you a lot.
We already know the Braves are interested. If Atlanta wants Gray more than Dipoto, then he would be a Brave.
Perhaps the best opportunity to snag Gray would be in a 3-team deal, which means trying to wedge yourself into a Rays-Yankees trade. Failing that, it’s tough to build an offer to compete with other clubs. Here is the best we would do:
Mariners trade Kyle Lewis and Joe Rizzo for Sonny Gray.
I can already hear many of you grimacing. Kyle Lewis for Sonny Gray? Well, Mariners fans, you might need to remember, a #1 prospect (or #2 in our ranks) in one system, could be a #6 prospect in another’s.
Gray is young, has a year plus of club control, and is eligible for a qualifying offer after next season. Gray is more likely to be dealt this off-season than this month. In the end, it’s highly unlikely he is moved anyways. But in the even he is, the Mariners will need to bring the big guns to stand a chance to add his services.