The Yanks Get Their Arm: Breaking Down the Sonny Gray Deal
Don’t like it, love it. Here’s why…
What they got:
Sonny Gray is a 27-year-old front of the rotation starter who, at his worst, has looked like a solid #3 starter, and at his best, is an ace for the Yanks at least through the 2019 season. Gray is a true four pitch pitcher that sits mid 90s and absolutely hammers the bottom half of the zone (which is a good thing in Yankee stadium).
Gray is not without his flaws as he spent a large portion of last year and the first month of this year on the DL with lat and trap injuries. No one likes to see injuries to multiple muscle groups that surround the shoulder, but when Gray has been healthy he has been nothing short of an ace.
Mute your computer for the next video, but it gives you a nice look at the movement on all of Gray’s pitches.
The most appealing part of Gray, besides his performance, is the fact that he is affordable and under team control. Gray is making $3.5 mil this year and is looking to make in the $8 mil range next year after his first trip through arbitration, and another affordable jump the year after. If he is able to stay healthy the Yanks very well have just snagged themselves one of the most affordable aces in baseball. Keep your fingers crossed and let’s get to October.
Here’s binder Cashman and Girardi’s reaction to the deal:
$1.5 mil int’l signing bonus money
Worth noting that the Yankees grabbed $1.5 million in international signing bonus money from this deal and also cleared a 40 man roster spot by dealing Yefry Ramirez to Baltimore for international signing bonus money. Is this going to be used to make a big at Shohei Otani or just reload the system some more?
What they gave up:
What the Athletics got in Mateo is a 22 year old, top notch athlete, who seemingly is just starting to put it all together. Mateo spent a year as the prized jewel of the Yankees system before multiple trades pushed him down and seemingly got him lost in the weeds. Mateo has begun the shift to center field from the middle infield this year, but it’ll be interesting to see where Oakland lets him play. Mateo became expendable in the Yanks system with their excess of middle infielders and outfielders. Make no mistake about it, if Mateo continues to put his grade 80 speed on display and hit the ball like he’s been doing since his promotion to Trenton, he could be a great piece for the Athletics moving forward.
The knock on Mateo throughout his minor league career has been his inability to get the bat to the ball and make solid, consistent enough contact for him to show off his elite speed.
James Kaprielian, the Yanks first round pick out of UCLA in the 2015 draft, had Tommy John surgery in April. Normally I would say who cares, get over it, every pitcher gets TJ now, but Kaprielian is different. He has been hurt almost his entire career in pinstripes. Make no mistake about it though, when he has been healthy holy shit has he looked good.
Kaprielian entered the 2016 season as the top pitching prospect in the Yanks system until he was derailed three starts into the season with an elbow injury. He came back and dominated the Arizona Fall League and big league spring training in 2017 with an upper 90’s fastball and four pitch mix when the elbow flared up again, eventually leading to the Tommy John surgery. If he is able to return to pre-surgery form, Kaprielian has potential to be a front end rotation guy.
I’ve written about Dustin Fowler before and said that he was the Yanks center fielder of the future. Then his knee absolutely exploded in his major debut in Chicago and it was devastating. Fowler is another great athlete and high ceiling prospect heading to Oakland in the deal. Fowler has hit at every level of the minor leagues and was an extra base hit machine in Scranton this year before the injury. Unfortunately, knees aren’t as much of a sure thing as elbows. Wish him the best of luck, but the fact that the Yanks were able to put him in the deal instead of Florial shows that either Billy Beane knows something we don’t, or Cashman pulled a nice highway robbery.