Cincinnati Reds set to massively overpay for Yankees’ unwanted Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
"Sonny Gray" by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA

Cincinnati Reds are close to a trade with the New York Yankees to acquire Sonny Gray, according to reports from Jon Heyman.

The Yankees will receive second base prospect Shed Long, a draft pick and possibly a minor leaguer, Heyman reports.

Long is considered a decent defender at second with a good bat. He played 126 games in AA last season with a .353 on-base percentage and .412 slugging. Long’s walk rate was just under 11%, and he had a 23.5% strikeout percentage.

Long was the Reds’ seventh-best prospect per MLB.com’s 2018 rankings. He was considered the sixth-best second base prospect in all of baseball back in their 2017 rankings but dropped out of the top 10 for his position at the start of last season.

Handedness perhaps attract the Yankees most to Long. They have a righty-dominated line-up – Long is a left-handed hitter. He is a genuine power threat, which is expected to transfer to the Major Leagues comfortably. It might not be long before we see him getting plate appearances at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made it clear he wanted to move Gray. Rumours of a trade have been a constant this offseason, with half of the league seemingly interested in a deal. Gray is a free agent after this season.

New York re-signed J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia this offseason, as well as trading for James Paxton. Gray had a tough time in the Big Apple in 2018 and is surplus to requirements. Gray started just 23 games last season, though he appeared out of the bullpen a further seven times.

Despite the Yankees’ loss of faith in Gray, teams believe they can get him back to the pitcher he was in Oakland. A lot of that is down to his home/road splits. Gray had an ERA just under seven at Yankee Stadium last season but was a much more respectable 3.17 on the road with 78 strikeouts in 71 innings.


It remains to be seen if Great American Ball Park is the answer. Cincinnati’s home is a hitters’ park, and a very unforgiving place for pitchers, as we have seen with many of the Reds’ young arms.

The Reds are bored of being bad. They already made a big trade this offseason, acquiring Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Yasiel Puig from the Dodgers. Gray, even if he gets back to his best, is not going to make the Reds a contender, but he could be a big part of their next competitive team if they manage to extend him – which they are trying to do before completing the trade, according to Heyman.

Long is a high price to pay for Gray. The potential of a power-hitter at second base is sky high. Gray, meanwhile, is a project. Pitchers are understandably reluctant to sign for the Reds, though, so perhaps rejuvenating Gray’s career is Cincinnati’s best value route to landing an experienced starter this offseason.

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About Sam Cox 704 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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