The Price For Gray

The Yankees and A’s are still talking, trying to come up with a trade for Sonny Gray. I’m going to try to come up with a reasonable trade for both sides.

Gray is a risk and an opportunity for the Yankees. While he was a great pitcher in 2014 and 2015, his 2016 season was an injury-riddled disaster. He started this year on the DL, started slowly, but has looked great since. If healthy, he would be under team control through 2019 after two more arbitration hearings. He would slot in nicely next year to a rotation with really only Severino and Montgomery as sure things for 2018 at a reasonable ($8-million) salary. And that’s why it makes sense for the Yankees to go after him, If, and this is a big IF, they can do it without sacrificing the vital parts of the future.

So what does that mean? It means the Yankees need to do it without sacrificing the obvious future pieces we can see now. We already know Sanchez is the catcher, Bird, if healthy, is at first, Didi and Castro are in the middle of the infield, and Judge is in right. Didi is the oldest of that bunch at 27. Beyond them we can see Torres playing a role at third, second, or short with Frazier in left and guys like Andujar and Fowler competing for time. They will also need pitching, so Sheffield and Adams must be kept.

The amazing thing is, the Yankees could still avoid trading any of those guys and still have enough to get Gray. Jorge Mateo is tearing up AA and can fly, but is blocked by the talent ahead of him. Estevan Florial is a raw, 19-year old the scouts love, but he is a world away in A ball. Both are top-10 prospects because of their talents, but both also could flame out. The Yankees have enough talent ahead of them to justify their inclusion in a trade for Gray.

Beyond that I expect the A’s would need at least one more piece. Billy McKinney, originally drafted by Oakland, but traded to the Yankees las year by the Cubs, has out a nice season together between AA and AAA. He profiles as a left fielder, and the Yankees clearly don’t need that depth right now more than a pitcher. His inclusion and a lottery-ticket type pitcher would be a fair return. Oakland would get a potential shortstop and center fielder of the future plus McKinney and a pitcher with a chance. The Yankees would have a rotation upgrade for this year, and a solid piece in 2018 and 2019.