Posted on July 29, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
For most of the past month, Oakland Athletics starter Sonny Gray has been one of the most talked about players in baseball. Many have assumed that the perpetually rebuilding A’s would trade Gray prior to Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. However, it may not be a done deal that Gray is dealt before the deadline.
Sources close to Oakland executive vice president Billy Beane report that he is not enamored with the offers he’s receiving for Gray. The 27-year old righty is under contract for two more years beyond this season. This fact makes him more valuable than pitchers who will be free agents at season’s end. However, Beane doesn’t feel teams are offering packages in line with Gray’s value. If that doesn’t change in the next couple of days, it’s possible that the A’s will not trade Gray and revisit the matter this winter.
In recent days, the New York Yankees have emerged as the favorites to land Gray. However, recent reports indicate that the Bronx Bombers have refused to include either shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres or outfielder Clint Frazier in a trade for Gray. As a result, talks between the two sides appear to have stalled.
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Of course, the Yankees are far from the only contender for Gray’s services. The Cubs, Dodgers, Braves, Astros, and Brewers, among others, also appear to have some level of interest in acquiring Gray. But with less than 48 hours until the deadline, none of those teams have stepped up with an offer that’s to Oakland’s liking. Thus, Gray remains with the A’s for now. However, he will not make his scheduled start on Sunday because of all the trade speculation.
On the one hand, the A’s are under no obligation to trade Gray. He is under team control for two more seasons. This allows Oakland to trade him this offseason or even next summer. However, if they don’t trade Gray this summer, they risk his value going down.
Gray struggled with both injuries and performance in 2016. But he has rebounded nicely this season, posting a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts. Of course, if he were to struggle down the stretch or suffer an injury, his value on the trade market this winter may not be as high as it is right now. This could be Oakland’s best chance to maximize Gray’s trade value.
It’s also important to note that Oakland may be holding up the rest of the trade market for starting pitchers. Since Jose Quintana went to the Cubs earlier this month, Gray has been the top starter available. Thus, teams in the market for a starter won’t move onto other options until Gray is moved. This is holding up the market for pitchers like Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, and others with time running out until the deadline.
It’s still possible, perhaps even likely, that Gray is dealt before Monday’s deadline. But Beane and the A’s don’t need to trade him before then, so they can afford to play hardball with the rest of the league. Not trading Gray right now does carry some risk. But Oakland still holds all the cards in trade negotiations, and so Gray not being traded before the deadline has become a distinct possibility.