Jon Heyman just dropped a bomb on Cincinnati Reds twitter-land. He notes that the Reds are still interested in Sonny Gray. That fact isn’t the twitter-bomb. But what the New York Yankees are reportedly interested in.

If the Yankees are willing to take Keury Mella, who is far down the Reds depth chart as a starting pitcher, then that’s a deal that makes sense. But if they are requesting Tony Santillan in return, a top 100 caliber prospect, for one year of Sonny Gray, the Reds should simply say no and to stop asking. Gray posted a 4.90 ERA last season and threw 130.1 innings. The last time he threw a full season was in 2015.

There are things to like about Sonny Gray. But they all come with an asterisk, too. He was very good in 2018 in the 71.0 innings that he threw away from Yankee Stadium. He posted a 3.17 ERA with 22 walks, 78 strikeouts, and just three home runs allowed. But, he also got absolutely obliterated in Yankee Stadium, posting a 6.98 ERA in 59.1 innings with 11 home runs allowed, 35 walks, and just 45 strikeouts. Yankee Stadium plays similarly to Great American Ballpark.

If you buy into the idea that he simply couldn’t handle pitching in New York, maybe you can sell someone on that. But if you can, how is that a good thing that a guy can’t handle pressure?

In past seasons, Sonny Gray has been pretty good. Outside of a weird 2016, he was pretty darn good from 2013-2017. His ERA’s in those seasons were 2.67, 3.08, 2.73, and 3.55. Those are all really good, some even better than really good. But his 2018 was U-G-L-Y, ugly. And 2018 is a far more important data point for 2019 than 2017 or 2015.

Sonny Gray has been good in the past. He’s got a relationship with pitching coach Derek Johnson. And he should perform better in the National League than the American League simply because he’ll get to face pitchers and pinch hitters instead of designated hitters three times a game. Those are some selling points for acquiring Gray and bringing him to Cincinnati.

But perhaps the most important of all of this is the fact that Sonny Gray has just one year of team control remaining. If you were acquiring an ACE, a true top of the rotation pitcher, then we could debate the idea of giving up a top end prospect in trade for that kind of guy. But when you are talking about a guy who just posted a 4.90 ERA and threw 130 innings? No. You don’t give up top end prospects for those kinds of players.

101 Responses

  1. Brad

    Adding Gray could make Redlegs even more of a trade deadline player in July…move Gennett, Puig, Wood, Roark, Gray, Kemp…

    • Gaffer

      But do you trust Bob to sell? He didn’t with Aroldis, Frazier, Cozart, etc, etc.

      • asinghoff

        Little easier for an attached owner to sell on players on 1 year deals compared to selling players who spent their entire careers with the Reds.

      • Pitching Wins

        I have so much to say and I have erased everything. That’s how undecided I am about everything we have done and still haven’t done. I will say. Since we acquired a few more big bats. Why didn’t we just keep Hamilton 1 more year. I think we are really going to miss him this year. If we are in the Win NOW frame of mind, We do not need to experiment with center field.. I think a 5 year deal with Keuchel is a mistake..

  2. Gaffer

    This is old news. I saw the same info a month ago, but that also said that the reds were “resisting “. I would do Mella and a throw in. I would probably do Guitterez alone, if they throw in some cash. I would only trade Santillian for Kluber, and not much more than that.

  3. Need An Ace

    Can’t happen. Would be ridiculous. The Reds have 5 better SP than Gray right now. And Santillan is a stud.

    • Peterpan

      You’re wrong about Gray give them both up, they are just prospects while Gray is a really good MLB arm. He’d be a difference maker for us…

      • Colorado Red

        NO he wouldn’t.
        That train has passed.
        Would be a really stupid trade from the Reds standpoint.

      • MuddyCleats

        Tend 2 agree w/ Colorado. If Gray were the last piece, maybe I’d be more interested ? Seems as though we’ve seen the best of Sony, and IMO, Reds don’t appear 2 b a team on the cusp of a playoff run? Still a lot of unknowns 4 Reds IMHO……will Votto bounce back or continue to decline, who is the real Pereza (one good yr does not make a career), how will entire OF shape up and there’s always the Pitching question. On paper, Def @ SS, 2B and CF is very questionable as well. Appears Bob wants to appease fans early in 2019 and see how young guys continue to develop. Probably not a bad approach considering how Farm system is ranked and all the question marks elsewhere? Could get very interesting if Reds start hot for a change. Will Reds b willing to add players then?

  4. Norwood Nate

    Trading Santillan for one year of Gray would be incredibly shortsighted and stupid. I’d rather hang onto Gutierrez as well. I can see trading Mella though.

    • Daytonian

      @Nate: Totally agreed. Santillan for a one-year starter? NO WAY! Mella–Okay. I’d trade him for one year of Gray.

  5. Bill

    Mella for Gray and some cash to offset his salary, sure. I’d pass if it took the others even if they Yankees picked up the entire salary, unless they are open to a broader deal that brought Clint Frazier to the Reds, too. Gray would have to really rebound to warrant a QO from the Reds at the end of the season. Gray was essentially replacement value last year and who wants replacement value for $9M and good prospect?

    If we’re just adding pitching then Keuchel, Holland and Miley are all better values until the Yankees drop their asking price … a lot.

  6. Seat101

    I’ve read that a lot of Gray’s road innings were against Baltimore.

    • Doug Gray

      Taking away his games against Baltimore he had a 4.10 ERA on the road. And that’s cheating, but it’s still a solid pitcher.

      • Peterpan

        Doig, Gray is worth any prospect we have, this guy has solid stuff. Give them what they want and don’t look back.

      • Peterpan

        We will be the ones laughing Klugo when Gray is one of the top pitchers in the NL. I would trade Santillan in a New York minute. He is an unproven prospect, Gray is the real deal.

      • sixpack2

        Yes but Doug half his Games would be in Reds stadium. #1/2 pitcher or go with our young guys. No Gray.

      • MuddyCleats

        Doug, stats R funny things. They can be useful, but also twisted almost any direction u’d like. I’m a big NFL Packer Fan. Many fellow Cheedar Heads lament how the Def improved this yr in Sacks and Pass Defense. Those R the stat facts, but if you watch each game like I do, it’s easy to see the Sacks come out of Nickle & Dime Def packages which forces them 2 blitz DBs and many times leave gaping holes in 2ndary which gives up big plays too; they won 6 games this yr! Gray’s fm Tenn; I umpired some of his H.S. games…like the kid. But, he appears to have some arm health issues fm what I hear? Believe it or not, his stats R very similar to M. Harvey’s – a guy U were less than enthusiastic about, both only had 8 QS? Very surprised 2 see Roark had 17 ? I just don’t see the rush to get any player for only ONE YR considering where the Reds R at in player development?

  7. Klugo

    Let’s hope the NYY don’t take us to the cleaners again on a trade.

  8. Jon Ryker

    I would not give the Sanitllan or Guttierez….

    Gray wouldn’t be a bad option, though.

  9. Optimist

    Spot on, Doug. Only possible sweetener would be if Gray would sign on for some kind of option year. Still, no to Santillan in any case.

    • RedsKoolAidDrinker

      Would not do that. We’ve complained on there that the Reds can’t develop pitching. Now we have a guy in Johnson that might get them to turn the corner. Reed obviously has a better shot at that. Would do BobSteve and Mella for Gray.

  10. Ksoze

    I don’t see giving up either Santillan or Gutierrez for a year of Gray. Both prospects have a legit shot of being apart of the 2020 25 man roster.

  11. Simon Cowell

    The Yankees hold all of the cards. The find a su ker or not. They can always DFA Gray and sign the top free agent. They arent stupid but they sure are looking for a trade pARTNER that is.

  12. Peterpan

    I would give them both Santillan and Gutierrez for Gray in a heartbeat. Gray has great proven stuff but just couldn’t handle NY. This guy is #2 or #3 starter on most teams and hopefully he would sign an extension with us.

    • DrBagel

      Even if Gray is a good #2 starter, the value he’d bring for one year isn’t enough to win a title. Santillian and Gutierrez both have a legit shot to be contributors to a championship level team down the road. So, even if they are “unproven prospects” they still hold more value in my eyes than a pitcher who had some good seasons a couple years ago.

  13. Peterpan

    Yankees won’t do it for a chump like Mella, give them Santillan and throw in Gennette and maybe they will add in Bird or Fraizer…

    • Jon

      The Yankees will never never Land top prospects for Sonny Gray!

  14. Brian

    Mella for gray would be great. Can you imagine turned 6 starts of Mike leake (pulled a hammy right after we traded him) into 3.5 years of Duvall and Gray.

    Also Doug, word is that we’re in on JT Realmunto. The marlins are looking for a top 50 prospect and an MLB ready asset. Would Barnhart and India get it done? He’s #46 on mlbs list I think. I know it’s risky but that gives us…

    1. CF senzel
    2. C JT
    3. 1B Votto
    4. 3B Suarez
    5. 2B Scooter
    6. LF Winker
    7. RF Puig
    8. SS Peraza.

    Plus you have schebler and kemp as bench bats getting about 300-400 at bats this year. That’s the best/deepest lineup in the NL with no easy outs in it.

    They could even sign keuchel if they want and still be under budget. Thoughts?

    • sixpack2

      I do not think we are offering Barnhart, as we want to get Realmunto to flip for a #1/2 Pitcher in a three Team trade.

    • scottya

      I’m guessing here, but I think that the Reds are listed in the Jt Realmuto sweepstakes as a third team. Rays- Mallex Smith CF, Braves – Ender Inciarte CF, Padres – Manuel Margot CF, Dodgers – Kike Hernandez or Chris Taylor CF’rs.

      There’s also a little wishful thinking from me here. But 2 years of Realmuto for Tucker Barnhart, Taylor Trammell and another good reds prospect doesn’t make that much sense to me especially for the Reds with today’s roster.

      Tucker as a part of a three team trade to acquire a center fielder makes a lot of sense to me. Catchers around Tucker’s overall level of production are continually available as free agent signings at not significant av’s (McCann, Lucroy, Chirinos, Ramos, Suzuki, Weiters). 24 mlb teams have 2.1 or better war projections at the catcher position and 6+ of those are as a result of 18′-19′ offseason short term signings.

  15. Wes

    Yanks won’t bite on Mella. They give away better pitchers as throw ins on trades. They will want a 19/20 year old like Richardson or a top prospect like Santillan. Reds better off signing 2/3 of the starting pitchers available not named kuechel.

  16. What in the world man?

    Peterpan you’re just trolling this right?

  17. Bernie

    I think getting Gray would be fine as long as the price is right but if they are going after a guy with an expiring contract I would much rather see them go after MadBum.

  18. Steve D

    Give them Keury Mella and Scooter and call it a day. No way do we give them Santillan. If that’s what there asking for you tell them to pound sand. I wouldn’t give them Guitierrez either.

    • KyWilson1

      Scooter for Gray has been my suggestion since the end of the season. Either way you’re hoping either performs well and trade bait at the deadline.

      • Matthew

        I have also thought Scooter for Gray sounds like a deal I wouldn’t mind. Not only would it add a starter, it would clear the way for Senzel.

  19. PickleRick

    Mella and Kemp for Gray
    Reds pay part of Kemp’s salary

    • earmbrister

      I’d be ok with that, but I’d rather sign


      If the Phillies sign Machado or Harper, the Reds become the leading contender for Keuchel’s services. If his contract demands become reasonable, pull the trigger. We need a solid rotation piece for the years after 2019.

    • pog

      I’ve been in favor of picking up Gray since I first saw his name mentioned. I thought he would be a worthwhile pickup as a reclamation project. But the Reds are probably only a .500 team without him and, with him, aren’t a great deal better. I’d just as soon save the bigger trade chips for a real difference maker, not just for a band-aid.

      Pass on giving up Santillan.

      • sixpack2

        Yes, I was on gray early and before we picked up the two. Now we need a #1/2 or pitch our youngsters.

      • KSoze

        Right, I feel the same. I’d rather start Mahle, than give up that kind of a prospect for 1 year of Gray. If the Reds are in it by the trade deadline, who knows who might be available.

  20. KyWilson1

    If they want Mella and throw in prospect, make that deal. I wouldn’t give up either of the other 2 for 1 year of Gray.

  21. Amarillo

    Gray doesn’t really make us better. For me it’s Kuechel or Mahle. Not interested in another mid tier starter. If you are taking away starts from Mahle it should be a guy who profiles as a number 1.

  22. Wes

    2nd baseman is deepest position in baseball right now. There was 7 comprable free agents to scooter and yanks were not in on any of them and they aren’t going to consider scooter of any value if he’s part of trade so reds might as well hold on to him if they work something out.

  23. Billy

    How about Santillan for Gray and Frazier? Is that reasonable?

    • RedsKoolAidDrinker

      Only should consider if they are taking on a lot of salary with Kemp thrown in.

  24. DanD

    How about something like this

    To NYY: Mella, Gutierrez, Gennett
    To CIn: Gray, Hicks or Gardner

    To Mia: Trammel, Long, Barnhart and Moss
    To Cin: Realmuto

    Sign Dallas Keuchel

    Gives us a #1, C, CF and allows Senzel to play 2B

    • Oldtimer

      Doubt MIA would make that trade. Best young C in MLB for decent MLB caliber C, very good MiLB OF prospect, so-so MiLB INF (limited to 2B) prospect, and long shot MiLB P prospect.

      Realmuto should bring much greater return than what you described.

      • DanD

        Just curious what you would offer. What do you think it would take without giving up more than 1 from our top 5.

        I see your replies but you don’t come back with a counter proposal.

      • Oldtimer

        Nothing. Don’t think Reds need C now. They have a good one with good backup (or two). Good C prospect at AA (in 2019) in MiLB too.

    • RedsinWashst

      Come on, quit giving up pitching. The MLB team is weakest in pitching and the minors is also weakest in pitching. We already gave up our #3 pitching prospect. No more pitching prospects please.

  25. Satcmo

    Our Rotation Tomorrow Morning:


    Who does he replace in this rotation? I don’t see how Gray makes sense at this point. Roark essentially fills out the niche for Gray and is far more dependable. This ship has sailed. The only way to add another pitcher at this point is if he is CLEARLY better than Mahle and/or DeSclafani.

    • Tom

      Wood and DeSclafani are not sure bets. Gray would bump Mahle to AAA for the first call up, which is really what a contending team should have the option of doing.

      That rotation you listed is not the 2012 Reds who started every game except 1 or something. There will be opportunities.

      The Yankees are not interested in Scooter it seems. They want a young arm. I agree Santillian is too high a price without expanding the deal.

  26. Scott C

    I’d give them Mella and perhaps another lower prospect, outside the top 20. Anything more than that and we are getting ripped off for one year of probably another #3 pitcher.

  27. sixpack2

    The only way Gray makes sense is if the yanks have a CF we want and we can up the trade. Else we do not need gray.

  28. Jim

    Seems the reds are aiming for .500 this year. Then we have all 3 LA players become FA and acquiring Gray just adds to next offseasons rebuild again.
    Hopefully whatever they do, we at least get draft picks or mid season trade of prospects.
    I’d trade India, but no other top 5 prospect.
    I don’t want a 32 yr old Kluber either. Wouldn’t trade any top 4 prospect even up.
    The in payroll increase, save it until next yr and have 60 mil. Sign a Verlander with a heavy up front payment. Doubt he would come here even, but it’s the idea.
    I understood Jockecty’s thinking on Votto’s contract, but in the early yrs I’d rather been paying 25 mil a yr and paying him in the last year’s of that contract what he got in the early yrs.
    I own a new semi. No heavy repairs expected in first 4 yrs. I don’t spend my repair budget, I put it towards extra truck payments. Now in 3/4 years when my repairs are needed more often, I won’t have a truck payment.
    2014 reds was a truck payment with lots of repairs needed. Didn’t make sense to me. 2015-17 was making truck payments, repairs and we saw what. Rolled junk onto the field.

    • Doug Gray

      So you don’t want Kluber, but do want Verlander? Color me confused on this one.

      • Jim

        Yeah I’ll take Verlander as a FA and lose a comp/3rd rd pick?
        How many #1 picks would it take to get 3 yrs of Kluber and probably the best is behind him. Maybe he wins 20 for us next yr, but at 34 in last yr of contract in a few yrs PASS! Be a quick window of contention and at the cost of future production.
        At least when we gave up 3- 1picks and Edison for Latos, he wasn’t 32.
        I don’t see Kluber as a freak of nature that Verlander is or Nolan Ryan was.

    • TJ

      Jim doesn’t understand age (Verlander is about 36) or time value of money. $25 million today is worth a lot more then $25mm 5 years from now. It’s even more burdensome when you consider MLB income has been growing or all teams. Maybe stick to driving the truck.

      I wouldn’t give up any top prospect for a one year rental. Spend the money and sign a free agent or sit on the cash until next year. The reds are not close enough to give up pieces for middling results.

      • Jim

        U both miss the point!
        Trade multiple #1 picks for Kluber.
        Sign Verlander as a FA next yr and lose a pick with 10-20% chance of even making it to the majors.
        So, yes give me senior citizen Verlander all day.
        Actually a totally mute argument because I don’t think he would pitch in GABP for any amount.

  29. Michael B. Green

    The Reds should absolutely get Gray but Santillan needs to stay put. CIN has plenty of other excellent SP’s in their organization that would fit the bill to acquire Gray for one (1) season. If NYY has a 40MR crunch, they may want 1-2 arms that do not immediately need added to the 40MR. Otherwise, they might want someone that can slot in as an SP at AAA or an RP at the MLB level or both. We have plenty of those guys. If both teams are motivated, I think this deal gets done….but without Santillan.

    • scottya

      I agree also, Yankees apparently will go over the cba limit with the signing of Lemahooville (WRC+ 81 on the road in his career btw) for 24 million 2 yrs (per max wildstein twitter). Yankees will need to shed the salary of Gray if they intend to stay below the cba penalty.

      I really believe that Mahle ends up in the bullpen and will be really good there. But at least Mahle has one more year he can spend in AAA and fill the likely much needed backup starter role.

  30. AirborneJayJay

    The Reds are in no way, shape, or form still interested in Sonny Gray. That is just a NY moron, Jon Heyman the NY homer trying to help his “friends” in the Yankee front office by putting this story out there. Heyman is trying to help give the impression the interest in Gray is boiling over when it is barely percolating. The Reds turned the page on Gray when they got Wood. Just more fake sports news. That seems like the state of journalism these days. They make this crap up.
    The Reds have no more interest in Sonny Gray. When rumors are your news stories, it gives a ready made platform to slide in these made up stories that have no base in reality. Heyman’s article should have been in the comics section.

    • scottya

      I agree also, Yankees apparently will go over the cba limit with the signing of Lemahooville (WRC+ 81 on the road in his career btw) for 24 million 2 yrs (per max wildstein twitter). Yankees will need to shed the salary of Gray if they intend to stay below the cba penalty.

      I really believe that Mahle ends up in the bullpen and will be really good there. But at least Mahle has one more year he can spend in AAA and fill the likely much needed backup starter role.

  31. Stock

    Here is the way I see it. Gray = Roark. Roark has the better WAR the last 3 years but Gray is better over his career.

    Santillan is way better than Rainey. So it makes no sense that the Yankees would expect that. Mella and Rainey are good comps.

    Mella for Gray is fair.
    Gutierrez for Gray and Cash would be fair.

    Santillan is better than the November request of Trammell but still too much for a pitcher that is our 5th SP.

  32. Stock

    I think the Reds have about $15 million left to spend and no SP is available to acquire anymore.

    I would trade for Realmuto and sign Ottavino.

    The 5th spot I would use a combo.

    Lorenzen’s ERA the first time through the rotation is 2.04. After that it approaches 9.

    Matt Wisler has an ERA of 3.37 in his first 4 innings in games he pitched in 2018.

    In the first two innings of his starts and and all relief appearances of 2 innings or less Cody Reed has an ERA of 1.63. After that is is more than 6.

    Start Reed and let him pitch 2 innings. Then bring in Lorenzen for his two inning and one AB without needing a PH. Bring in Wisler to pitch 2 – 4 innings depending on the situation. If they match 2018 output you get 8 innings with an ERA of 2.60. That is ace like.

    Lorenzen and Reed are available to pitch 1 inning in between starts (but not the day before).

    This would eat up the bullpen innings but with Senzel and Lorenzen you have a way to address this.

    Bench becomes: Casali, Senzel, Kemp and Ervin (with Lorenzen now available on days you know he wont pitch.

    Bullpen: Iggy, Ottavino, Hughes, Hernandez, Lorenzen, Reed, Garrett and other (Stephenson, Herget, Mella, …).

  33. doofus

    “If you were acquiring an ACE, a true top of the rotation pitcher, then we could debate the idea of giving up a top end prospect in trade for that kind of guy. But when you are talking about a guy who just posted a 4.90 ERA and threw 130 innings? No. You don’t give up top end prospects for those kinds of players.”

    Nuff said.

  34. Bill

    Personally, I’m not all that high on Gray. I’d prefer Miley, Holland or Keuchel if the price is right.

    But if the Reds are high on him, how about Gutierrez and Kemp (Reds owe about $14.75M) for Gardner and Gray (arb projections of $16.5M)? Gardner plays CF, Gray fills a rotation spot. Reds still have money to build for the future.

    • Stock

      The Holland choice is interesting. Beginning June 4 he decided to increase the usage on his slider. His ERA from that time on was 2.89
      His BB/9 was a little high at 3.46 but his K/9 was 9.72. That may be worth a shot.

    • Dollar Bill

      I would rather they sign Miley than get fleeced by the Yankees again. Gray is nothing special but I would consider giving them scooter for him just to open a spot for Senzel.

  35. doofus

    I like the comments about expanding the deal to include Clint Frazier, how about Mike King also, if Santillan is to be a piece?

  36. Cguy

    If the Reds want Gray for Mella + paying Gray’s arb. salary of about $9MM, why didn’t they just sign Harvey for 1 year @ $11MM or Trevor Cahill for 1 year @ $9MM and keep Mella? A deal involving Gutierrez or Santillan makes even less sense.

    • Stock

      Agreed. I would rather have Harvey or Cahill as opposed to Gray.

  37. Oldtimer

    I think Sonny Gray would be a good addition to Reds SP rotation in 2019. The Reds SP in 2018 were so bad that almost any change is automatically an improvement.

    Make the trade if NYY agree to reasonable return for a player they no longer want.

  38. Nep O'Tism

    If you ignore a weird 2016, and half of 2018, (aka 1/2 of the last 3 years) he’s a good pitcher!

    If you don’t ignore all that, you realize he has a 4.59 ERA and a 93 OPS+ over that span and averaged slighty under 136.2 IP per year.

  39. citizen54

    I hope when Tony Santillan’s name was mentioned, the Reds just laughed.

    • Dollar Bill

      Reds don’t need Realmuto. Not for what he will cost in prospects.

    • Doug Gray

      Baseball America had him at #96 in their last update. And I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face that he’s about 50 spots lower than he should be.

  40. RedsKoolAidDrinker

    This is an awful lot of discussion for a guy like Sonny Gray. We should be looking for an ace, and yes we should give up some of the farm.

  41. Ksoze

    It seems as if Gray wouldn’t be an upgrade. Kluber would seem to cost us Senzel and Trammell, which is way too much. Keuchel wants too long of a contract for his age, and injury history. The Reds should sign Miley or G Gonzalez for 1 or 2 year deal.

    In 2020 the Reds could target Sale or Bumgardner, either of which would be upgrades over the previously mentioned players. They will also be shedding a ton of payroll in 2020 so they could still add to the roster. Trammell, Senzel, and Santillan should be on the 25 man in 2020.

  42. Cguy

    Wow, Casali was guessed to be @ $1.3MM arbitration & agreed to $950K. Puig was supposed to be around $11.3MM & signed at $9.7MM. There’s a couple extra $MM for a backup ss or maybe a lhrp?

  43. MK

    Think I would rather start Santillan now than Gray. If the Yanks would take Jose Lopez then OK.

    • Bill

      Exactly MK; marginal 2018 performance coupled with an approximate $9M salary should equals big risk for any acquiring team. Appropriate return is a high risk prospect.

  44. SpankmeTodd.

    Gray isn’t going to make the Reds a playoff team. Better yes, but I wouldn’t trade Santillan for him. You either make the playoffs or go home.