It at long last occurred; the Yankees are finishing an exchange for Sonny Gray. His new home will be the Cincinnati Reds, who will send over their number seven prospect Shed Long, a lesser prospect, and a Draft pick in return for Gray’s services, per MLB Network Insider’s Jon Heyman.
My first impression of this deal is that it’s a very good one for the Yankees. Sonny Gray battled forcefully in his time in the Bronx, and keeping in mind that his peripherals suggested that he was meriting to some degree less more terrible outcomes, regardless they indicated to a league average-ish, back of the rotation starter rather than a mid-rotation hurler (4.17 FIP, 4.10 xFIP in 2018).If you had told me that Brian Cashman would be able to flip him for a legitimate prospect this off season, I would have been ecstatic.
Discussing which, truly, I do think Shed Long is a legitimate prospect. The 23-year old second baseman has altogether exhibited his hitting ability at each stop in the minors up until this point, and last season he cut .261/.353/.412 (120 wRC+) at Double-A. FanGraphs’ prospect team pegged Long as a 50 FV piece in their December 2018 positioning of the Red’s system. That is a great return for Sonny Gray all by itself.
Obviously, likewise with each prospect, Long comes with warts. He has some high-strikeout propensities (23.6 K% in 2018), and scouts question his capacity to stick at a respectable halfway point long-term, seeing a move to the outfield corners as a solid probability. Be that as it may, regardless of whether he isn’t the strongest defender, Long could provide value as a second baseman who can actually hit, as his MLB counterparts managed only a collective 93 wRC+ this past year. And while the Yankees already have a strong offensive player at the keystone in Gleyber Torres, it never hurts to have capable depth in the high minors (Long is projected to start 2019 at Triple-A). You can count me as a huge fan of this trade.
If I had to nitpick, I would bring up that Gray’s takeoff diminishes the Yankees’ rotation depth. In spite of the fact that CC Sabathia has apparently been doing fine after his angioplasty, concerns wait about how he will hold up over a full season. James Paxton has likewise been referenced as injury risk, and keeping in mind that his past health problems have been more of the freak a injury variety, the fact remains that he’s never been able to pitch a full season. Gray could have helped to eat innings capably provided that he’d be used solely on the road, but it looks like the Yankees will have to rely on Domingo German or worse, Luis Cessa for their sixth starter role.
Be that as it may, I’m not very stressed over that. There’s still time left in the offseason for the Yankees to shop for rotation depth. The sheer truth that Cashman may be able to getlegitimate prospect value for Sonny Gray is enough for me to consider this trade a boon for the Yankees.. At first, misgivings about how Cashman handled this whole saga, especially the way he made his intentions so clear. But Ninja Cash found his suitor, and he appears to have delivered yet again. Sorry for ever doubting you, Brian. You win, yet again.