New York Yankees Hold All The Cards In Potential Trade For Sonny Gray
Jul 19, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray (54) reacts after recording a strikeout against the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth inning at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s have named their price on highly-regarded starter Sonny Gray. It’s up to the New York Yankees to pull out the wallet and make a deal. 

Trade deadline season is officially upon us and the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics are reportedly negotiating a trade that would send right-handed starter Sonny Gray to the Bronx.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the A’s have “named their price” on their prized 27-year-old from the Yankees and although nothing is close as of yet, general manager Brian Cashman should be feeling the heat.

A trade involving Gray has been also connected to the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs. Yet, Heyman also reported the Astros interest has reduced leaving the Yankees as the apparent lead-dog in the sweepstakes.

To make things even more enticing, A’s assistant general manager and director of player personnel Billy Owens was at Double-A Trenton on Thursday night scouting Yankees’ prospects. The cards to pull an ace from Oakland is in the hands of Cashman, but will he fold?

Gray is 6-4 on the season with a 3.66 ERA in 15 starts. Judging by his past five starts in which he’s 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA, his stock is at a long-time high and given his team control until 2020, there is no bargain here.

New York has shown hesitation to part with top prospects like Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield for quite some time now. After looking at the haul Jose Quintana got the Chicago White Sox, it makes sense that the A’s are interested in those highly regarded prospects. Especially for a trade that moves the hottest name on the pitching market to the Bronx.

Yes, the former Cy Young candidate (finished third in 2014) would assuredly serve as an upgrade to the inconsistent rotation. Michael Pineda‘s Yankee career may be over, Masahiro Tanaka is enduring his worst season in the states and CC Sabathia just isn’t the anchor he used to be. Nonetheless, this isn’t like the deal that brought in Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.

Cashman was content with dealing the package highlighted by Blake Rutherford because he wasn’t slated to reach the majors until 2020, was a mere 20-years-old and the glut of young outfield depth makes his loss manageable.

A deal for Gray could drive the cost for improvement to a price the Yankees are reluctant to pay. Or, can they make the same excuse they did when they pulled off his latest blockbuster?

The A’s director of player personnel got to see a ton of talent during his experience at the ballpark on Thursday. One of which was Jorge Mateo, the third-best Yankees’ prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He has reached base safely in all 21 games in Double-A this season, registering a .360/.439/.628 slash line with 18 RBIs.

Mateo, maybe another highly touted middle-infield prospect like Tyler Wade, may be something Cashman is willing to ship. The emergence of Torres, Thairo Estrada and the current middle infield of Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro certainly justifies it.

Another addition to the package could be 6-foot-8 Domingo Acevedo, who has hit 103 mph with his fastball. He was on the mound and fanned four over five innings while allowing just three hits on Thursday in front of Owens. The 23-year-old lowered his ERA to 2.32 with the Thunder and is turning himself into a marketable asset as the Yankees’ 11th-best prospect by Pipeline.

Whatever the package may be, Cashman has the ability to legitimize the 2017 Yankees as contenders right now. The concern of if it’s enough to overcome the Houston Astros or if a career 3.45 ERA is worth dismantling a piece of the farm Cashman worked so hard to build in 2016.

The latter may decimate trade talks to nothing, but it appears as though New York is the frontrunner to land Sonny Gray. The debate on whether they’ll go all in on 2017 or not will come to an end soon.