“On the trade block” might be the wrong phrase to use, but the Cincinnati Reds have reportedly been at least gauging interest on the former All-Star right-handed starter Sonny Gray as well as other players in an effort to shed payroll. While I will assume that the Seattle Mariners are not one of the “several teams” that are interested in Gray, they should be.
Gray is signed to a team-friendly $32 million over the next three years including a team option as the final season of the deal. In his two years in Cincinnati Gray has been outstanding posting a 3.07 ERA in 231.1 innings. With his contract and being only 31, the Mariners should take advantage of their low payroll to acquire Gray and help the Reds cut their payroll.
To help in bringing the value of the Reds side of the trade down the Mariners could also take on the salary of Nick Castellanos. Castellanos is signed for $38 million guaranteed over the next three years and if he is included in any deal for Gray it will bring down the value of the Reds side of the trade.
The Mariners could be in a unique position with their current, and for the near future (due to prospects and young players being on small deals), low payroll. Castellanos, who is in his prime and has a career .796 OPS, can function as the Mariners’ 3rd outfielder this season, and in the future can be a he can be a DH, 4th outfielder, or replacement if Haniger is traded or cant return to his old form.
So now lets explore what a trade for Gray would look like if the Mariners were to do the unexpected and pursue a Gray for him with the Reds.