Sonny Gray
(Julie Jacobson / AP)

What Sonny Gray looks back on as a valuable learning experience, New York Yankees likely fans remember as an utter disaster.

Aaron Case

Apparently former New York Yankees pitcher Sonny Gray is a pickle-jar-half-full kind of guy.

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Gray said of his time in the Bronx, speaking to Forbes SportsMoney writer John Perrotto. “It obviously didn’t go the way I had hoped, or the Yankees had hoped but I learned a lot from it. I learned how to deal with adversity. I learned how to keep pushing forward when things weren’t going right. I learned about myself and I’m a better man for it. It helped me immensely.”

Yankees fans just wish Gray had assisted the Bombers immensely.

Before putting on the pinstripes, the 29-year-old righty was known as the Oakland Athletics’ ace. He went 44-36, posting an ERA+ of 120 or better in four of his five years with the A’s.

The Vanderbilt alum forgot to bring that success to New York.

After the Yanks traded for Gray in 2017, he went 15-16 with a 96 ERA+ in 41 games. He pitched so poorly that manager Aaron Boone left him off the Yankees’ playoff rosters in 2018.

Unsurprisingly, Bombers GM Brian Cashman made offloading Gray a priority ahead of the 2019 season. Cashman succeeded, dealing his mistake to the Cincinnati Reds in January.

At first, Gray had plenty of negative words for his former team. About a month after the trade went through, he delivered an expletive-laced diatribe via the Athletic’s Eno Sarris, blaming his failures on directives from New York’s coaches.

However, judging by his statements to Perrotto, time has healed Gray’s wounds. His new, lower-pressure surroundings in Cincy also seem to have fixed his pitching problems.

So far this season he’s posting a career-high 10.2 SO/9 and a career-low 7.1 H/9. He even found his way to the MLB All-Star game.

Per Gray himself, that success is at least partly thanks to his bombing in the Bronx.


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