In the rumor that never died and could potentially go on forever, the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees are still discussing a trade that would bring right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray to Cincinnati. The rumors have changed a lot over the last few days, but right now it’s believed to be Shed Long and the 2019 competitive balance draft pick for Sonny Gray. As I wrote yesterday, the Reds shouldn’t pay a lot for Sonny Gray. That was based on the fact that he only had one year of team control remaining, and that he projected as not much of an upgrade, if it all, over an internal candidate like Tyler Mahle. But the rumor today is that the Reds are trying to include an extension with Sonny Gray as a part of the trade.

It was later noted that it’s unknown if the the trade would be refigured if Sonny Gray does not agree to the extension. If Gray does indeed agree to an extension it makes the inclusion of Shed Long and a draft pick look a whole lot different than if Gray only had one year left. We don’t know what an extension would look like, so I don’t want to speculate on just how much better the deal would feel. Likewise, we don’t know what the deal may look like if the team is only getting the right-hander for one season, either. Hold onto your butts, this trade is one that is still developing.

60 Responses

  1. Brad

    I think extending Doug Gray is a major mistake. More of a month to month proposition. I mean, questionable lunch spot decision making, does not fly. Just seem like issues hard to overcome.

    But really, Shed Long for Sonny Gray at $7.5M for 2019 and 3-year extension at $27M, $9M/year is within reason. I dont including the Competitive Balance A pick this year, Reds have done well with those picks. Derek Johnson and David Bell are putting their selves on the line, early, with that kind of extension.

    • Jack Recard

      I don’t know…Doug has demonstrated his ability to deliver daily content, a capable interviewee when he has appeared on radio and last season proved his merit on the big stage of The Athletic. Now would be an ideal time for our cash strapped fan base to lock in a budding talent to a long term deal. I couldn’t speculate why he would want to sign a long term deal at the moment though when he is on the cusp of a breaking out on the national circuit.

    • AirborneJayJay

      Three years sounds about right but the $$$ figure will probably be higher. Maybe $36MM will be more in line. If Lance Lynn just got 3/$30MM I can see Gray’s reps looking at $33–$36MM.

    • AirborneJayJay

      If 3 years, how would the 3 years look? Three years that re-does his 2019 salary that would make up his 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons?
      Or would it be 3 years in addition to his already agreed upon 2019 season salary? That would take him into the 2022 season. In essence he would be under contract for 4 seasons then. That might be 1 year too long.

    • Shawn

      He also has a bad taste in music. May need to let him go and find someone who don’t like pop country. On the plus side tho, he does know his baseball.

  2. Klugo

    3yrs of Gray for Long ,a Comp B ,and a low level prospect sounds good to me. Giving up anything more sounds like a NYY win. Giving up anything less sounds like a CIN win.

    • habesjn

      I agree with that. If we can sign Gray to a reasonable ~10 million per year deal for 2 years and an option for a third year, that would make this trade extremely fair for both sides.

    • Muddycleats

      I have my doubts on Gray. Made it 2 Reds Caravan n Tenn & asked Krall about why most moves this yr have been limited 2 one yr – 2019? He indicated they R just trying 2 patch holes 4 THIS season? I guess Ownership is only interested n looking good for 150 year celebration

      • habesjn

        I assume the implication behind that comment was that they believe, in 2020, their prospects will have a better chance at competing. Obviously, if they do no develop, then the money coming off the books could be used to continue to patch holes in 2020.

        I don’t think it has much to do with the 150 year anniversary.

      • Amarillo

        Krall likely has a NDA when it comes to talking about plans with fans on more than a surface level. He can’t talk about anything regarding money. A major reason for all of the 1 year deals is for the financial flexibility I imagine.

  3. Norwood Nate

    I agree, an extension changes things. Now it’s starting to make more sense. Makes the return of Long and the pick sound reasonable. What a lot of twists and turns this has taken over the past couple days. Be interested to see what the years and dollars are looking like if an extension can be worked out.

  4. MK

    You know Doug they are going to talk about you if your sitting there holding your butt.

  5. Bernie

    I like the Reds getting Gray, I’m ok with trading Long especially if he signs an extension but would rather not trade that pick in either case.

  6. Patrick

    Extending Gray seems like a huge mistake. He is already showing regression. He is 29 yo and is a small pitcher. Small pitchers like him have a much earlier and steeper decline. They also peak earlier, Gray career trajectory is mirroring that of other sub 6″0″ pitchers. For example Lincecum he excelled in in early/mid 20’s and then hit a down slide at 28 and was never good again. It is one of the main reason why taller starters are more desired.

  7. Dan

    I don’t quite follow… if WE want to extend Sonny Gray, why do the Yankees get more in return? Those seem like separate issues to me, no?

    • Fish

      It’s not that they Yankees should get more if he’s extended, it’s that b he’s worth a lot less to the reds if he doesn’t agree to an extension. The deal still seems like an overpay to me unless he signs a really reds friendly deal with I dunno why he would. (3/27 would be way under market value IMO)

    • Bill

      Because no trade has taken place and the Reds have to get permission from the Yankees to speak with him.

  8. Jeremy C

    Why would it change things? NYY aren’t giving up anything more in the exchange whether we extend him or not? The trade package should be based on what they are giving up and that’s one year of Gray.

  9. dbfromnva

    This proposed trade is a massive overpay (based on what was traded for Roark) extension or not. Williams has not made an idiotic moves since he took over like the Chapman trade or the ARod signing that Jocketty did so I am holding my breath that the reports are not accurate.

    • Nep O'Tism

      The Chapman trade was 100% while Williams was in charge. Williams became GM at the beginning of November 2015.

      The Chapman trade was December 28th, 2015.
      The Bruce trade was August 1st, 2016.

      He also oversaw the Cozart and Harvey no-trades.

      I hate Jocketty’s past and continued involvement with this team as much as the next guy, but Dick Williams has made plenty of idiotic moves.

      • Colorado Red

        The Chapman trade was Bob C fault.
        HE said, get him out now, even for a bag of burgers.
        Walt/Dick had to choice.

      • Jim t

        Hard to fault Williams for Chapman. I believe he was under orders to unload him due to his off field issues.

        Cozart had injuries making moving him very difficult if not impossible.

        Harvey would have brought back a bag of balls. ownership was trying to win a few games thus they kept Harvey rather then give him away.

        Bruce was a bad trade.

      • pog

        Williams track with the Reds was not exactly traditional. He was made GM 12/2014 but continued to report to Jocketty. 12/2016 he was made President of Baseball Ops and Jockety was “promoted” to advisor to Bob Castellini. (You can read that “promotion” however you want.)

        No telling what his authority was as GM under Jocketty but I betcha whatever it was it more than an OK for paper clip purchases, it required Walts OK.

        I doubt very much if Walt gave up his authority over the Reds clubhouse easily. I thought at a time that the advisor job was the Williams exercising minority owner influence and I still do.

      • Mjc

        Bruce trade .in the first version of the trade and it was reported, was Brandon Nimmo. One of the best young center fielders in mlb.he can hit ,great ob% ,good power,very good defense. With 5 more years of team control .but the trade was changed to D.Herrera.you just know the Mets are still high-Fiving over that.

      • sixpack2

        Not true. Jocketty was still running the show with Williams as assistant. The no-trades were his, but you have to have someone willing to trade with you. Harveys last start before deadline was bad and Cozarts knees were bothering him.

    • Bill

      Another way to look at the Roark trade is that the Reds got a tremendous deal. Perhaps the Nats were more motivated sellers to clear some near-term payroll?

  10. MIkeD

    My 2 cents…

    First of all the Reds would be better served picking up Doug Gray than they would Sonny.

    However, the Reds understand the challenges of enticing free agent pitchers to GAB, hence the overpay if they can negotiate a long term commitment. I have to believe the knowledge the pitching coach has of Gray has something to do with why they are all in. Lets hope so.

    I like Shed Long a lot, but honestly he seems to have plateaued somewhat and I’m not sure how he becomes a factor ahead of other young players. I guess it might said that he should get a greater return, but both sides have believe that.

    I would guess the Reds make the trade straight up if Gray does not extend. That would seem like a waste because he does not get the Reds to the playoffs.

    I would rather not the Reds be making this deal, but hey, at least we have something to pique our interest.

  11. Brennan

    I really like this trade especially if they get him extended. I liked shed but scooter, senzel, India, and others have 2nd base locked down for now.

    I think reuniting Gray with his former pitching coach will be a plus and having to face a pitcher instead of a DH most games will help him out a lot too. I’m not expecting him to be the cy young candidate he used to be but I imagine he will be much improved from last season.

    • Muddycleats

      Somewhat agree. Long has nice athleticism, but is lacking AB. Saw him overmatched more than a few times this past season. I too feel Gray is n decline, but as u pt out, coming back 2 NL can help that type of SP! Think Harvey didn’t help himself by going back 2 AL? Just wonder how much Gray has left n the tank & if @ least one spot shouldn’t b left open 4 internal comp?

  12. Stellavic

    I have a couple of unrelated questions. 1. Harvey pitched well for the Reds, why did he have no trade value? 2. What is going to happen to Robert Stephenson who is out of options and 3. The Reds took a Rule 5 catcher from the Twins and the they kept him all year even though he was terrible. What happened to this guy?

    • Justin

      1. I wonder if they thought they were going to be able to extend him, gambled and lost. 2. Long man in the pen? If he has a good spring he could be traded, especially if another team has a injury.
      3. Always seemed odd to me. I think they were desperately wanting a major leage level defender as a backup. Or maybe he was dating Castellini’s niece. I think he got released.

    • pog

      Harvey: Because Castellini loved him and wanted to resign him for 2019. So Harvey repaid Bob by signing with the Angels. So much for having a favorite player.

      Stephenson: He will be in ST if he isn’t traded. He is on the 40 Man and can’t be optioned . Now its up to him. If it were me I’d put him in the pen as a long man/spot starter and let him play himself out of a job.

      Stuart Turner is the catcher you asked about. At last sighting he was on the Louisville Bats roster. And I suspect that, short of an injury to Mother Tucker or Casali, that’s where he will stay.

      • Amarillo

        Harvey’s only (known) offer was from the Brewers for “Triple A non-prospects” probably someone like a Taylor Sparks or maybe Hernan Irribarren. If that was all the offer was I would have just held on to Harvey as well. Maybe one of the young guys learns something from him.

  13. Jon Huling

    Question: Dors trading for Gray affect the Reds going after Keuchel? If not, Their rotation this year could be Keuchel, Castillo, Gray, Wood, Roark. Not too bad considering what we had going out in 2018

    • Colorado Red

      My guess, is Dallas told them he is not interested.
      I also think the cost of Klubber was too high.
      So this should be it.

  14. Jon Huling

    Question: Dors trading for Gray affect the Reds going after Keuchel? If not, Their rotation this year could be Keuchel, Castillo, Gray, Wood, Roark. Not too bad considering what we had going out in 2018.

    • AllTheHype

      You have Desclafani also and plenty of depth behind that. I’m thinking if they acquire Gray it probably eliminates interest in Keuchel.

    • Wes

      Yes. Reds are certain they can’t get kuechel. That’s why they are overpaying for gray.

  15. Justin

    I think Shed Long is going to be a good MLB player. Unfortunately, 2nd base is a deep position for us but also an easy spot for fringy shortstops. I think we are actually lucky to find a good trade for him because we can’t be the only organization lowering their values on second basemen.

  16. Ty

    Somehow I’m still optimistic due to a comment by C. Trent. made during Redsfest. He claimed that Johnson and David Bell were already extremely preoccupied with reviewing film over several different pitchers. For some reason, I have faith that the Reds coaching staff has a good idea what they’re doing and have devoted a lot of time determining that Sonny Grey can thrive under the right conditions. What I find positive is that Greys velocity and health have stayed largely intact. If the Reds can decrease his walk and homerun rate, we received a top of the rotation starter for a second basemen who is defensively limited who is blocked by Gennett and Senzel. Don’t get me wrong, I think Shed has a chance to be a better than average hitter, I just think this could work well for the Reds.

  17. AllTheHype

    Did some light analysis on Gray, mainly trying to compare his two avg/poor seasons versus his four good ones. I’ll throw out some stats.

    League avg BABIP in 2018 (for reference): .293
    League avg hard contact % in 2018 (for reference): 35.3%
    Gray’s BABIP/hard contact % by year
    2013: .276/28.2%
    2014: .277/25.4%
    2015: .255/25.1%
    2016: .319/33.6%
    2017: .269/28.0%
    2018: .326/35.5%

    So for whatever reason, in the two avg/poor seasons his hard contact rate was roughly league average, yet he suffered from a much higher than league average BABIP. Normally you would expect a BABIP that is closer to league average if hard contact is league average.

    The other four (good) seasons, the hard contact % is much lower than league average and BABIP is also lower which is a result of the good hard contact rates. This appears normal.

    So in summary, in those two avg/poor seasons, the inflated BABIP could indicate he suffered from a combination of bad luck and maybe poor defense (not errors but instead not making plays on balls that should have been made).

  18. Stellavic

    My concern with the possible trade is not about Shed or draft picks. It is that Gray was outstanding pitching in the Oakland ball park. I might be able to pitch there. Name another Oakland pitcher who was traded away by Oakland in the last 10 years that was successful? Maybe Gray was not successful in NY because he is a mediocre pitcher at best.

    • AllTheHype

      I can debunk that theory with one split stat:

      Gray’s career home ERA: 4.06
      Gray’s career away ERA: 3.21

    • Reaganspad

      Gio had his best year, 21-8. 2.89 in his first year with the Nats

    • Bill

      Stellavic, ERA+ is the stat that adjust for ballparks. Sonny Gray has had 4 years where he’s been better than league average (2013-15, 2017) and two years where he’s been below average (2016 and 2018). I his good years he’s been 20-46% better than league average. Last year he was 11% below average. I think his ERA+ while at Oakland indicates he would have been successful in any ball park. When he is good, his stuff plays anywhere, but he has had some down years.

  19. Simon Cowell

    One thing we aren’t hearing discussed much. The Reds are slated to have what 3 or 4 new starters? What is going to the youngsters that failed to launch successful? Mahle, Romano, Stephenson, Reed, Garrett? Is this a sign that the Reds don’t believe in them or that management believes that they still need more time down on the farm? To date, we haven’t heard of a single one of them being included in a trade package. I take that to mean the Reds see them as our starters in the near future.

    • Norwood Nate

      I’m guessing Mahle ends up in AAA if everyone is healthy to start the year. That’s good depth to have and he could continue to season. Garrett seems set in the bullpen after a full season last year. Stephenson is out of options, but I’d like to see him get a chance in the bullpen and with the new pitching coach to see if he can transfer the improvements he made at AAA last season to the big leagues. My understanding is he had found success in AAA pitching “backwards” but upon returning to the Reds they wanted him to start with his FB.
      Personally I like Reed as a second lefty in the pen, and Romano’s stuff played a little better out of the pen as well. I think that’s his future. If the bullpen is full I can see either of those guys starting in AAA to stay stretched out in case they’re needed.

    • Bill

      Similar to Nate, I anticipate we’ll see Reed, Garrett, Stephenson, and Wisler all in the ML pen to start 2019. The latter three are out of options. If Finnegan returns to form (best case scenario for the Reds), he could bump Reed to the AAA rotation. All could/should work multiple innings. Some could get back into the mix as a starter with strong performances.

      I see Romano in the bullpen long-term.

      Barring injury, Mahle starts in the AAA rotation as does Sims. If my calculations are correct, the Reds gain another year of control if he spends 31 days in the minors. Reeds needs in the ballpark of 80 days. At this point, not a over-riding consideration, but I’m sure the Reds monitor service time. Both will get calls when injuries occur.

      There will be opportunities this year as it takes more than 5 starters to make it through a season, and again in 2020 when our free agents depart.

  20. Norwood Nate

    Saw that the Reds may consider bringing in a defensive specialist CF for late inning replacement and then roll with what they have already in CF between Schebler, Puig, and Senzel as starters.
    I’d wonder if it’s worth it to carry a defensive CF on the bench with Kemp, Schebler, and Ervin already slotted for bench/part time roles (assuming Senzel starts). Would likely mean Ervin to AAA or someone traded. I don’t think Ervin has anything to work on in AAA, but he’s the one with options. Otherwise the Reds wouldn’t have room for all those OF’ers, backup C, and a backup INF (to play SS) on the bench. And even that’s assuming a 5 man bench and 7 man bullpen.

    Not even sure what defensive CF’ers are out there. Please no Span. Jones isn’t a CF anymore either. Instead of signing someone couldn’t Siri simply fill it? He’d be an excellent defensive CF.

    • pog

      I’m very much in favor of thinking about Senzel in a super sub role for 2019. That lessens the risk of losing him in a starter role due to a vertigo relapse and gives him a year to carve out a job for 2020 when we will probably have an infield vacancy or maybe two.(I want to see what Peraza can do for an encore)

      I know this won’t be a big hit with the Senzel fans (of which I am one, BTW) but it solves a lot of role problems without a huge expenditure of money or position changes for other players.

      I guess I’m of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it crowd and I think we have a pretty decent infield right now and don’t need to shake it up just to find a slot for him.

      That doesn’t preclude him finding a job in CF during ST. That’s one place we can use some re-enforcement and if his D is good enough, it might go a long way to resolving that deficiency.

    • Bill

      Nate, if they broke from ST today, I see the 25-man looking like this:

      Outfielders: starting Winker, Schebler and Puig; bench Kemp & Ervin
      Infielders: starting Suarez, Peraza, Gennett and Votto; bench Farmer
      Catchers: Barnhart and Casali

      Starters: Castillo, Wood, Gray, Roark and DeSclafani
      Relievers: Iglesias, Hughes, Hernandez, Lorenzen, Stephenson, Wisler, Garrett and Reed

      DL: Blandino depending on his recovery

      Once Senzel comes up and Blandino is healthy I could see Reed, Blandino, Ervin, Farmer and Mella frequently shuttling between Louisville and Cincinnati. The Reds will have a respectable, but unspectacular rotation. Accordingly, I expect them to want 8 relievers available on most days. Having depth of the quality of Blandino and Ervin at AAA is a step in the right direction for the rebuild.

      • Norwood Nate

        The only issue I see is no one on your OD roster can backup SS. For that reason I expect to see Trahan until Blandino is healthy.

      • Bill

        I certainly think it’s possible. The Reds lack a true SS and a true CF among their best players. Ervin and perhaps even Lorenzen provide insurance at CF.

        At SS, I’m anticipating they keep Trahan at AAA and use Suarez in an emergency/spot start. Farmer also played SS at the University of Georgia, although I can’t see the Reds using him to do anything but close out a game in the majors at SS, but he can play 3B. Once Senzel arrives, I could see him getting occasional starts at SS. The dilemma is giving up offense from the bench to carry Trahan.

      • pog

        I know the conventional thinking is to delay Senzels call-up and finagle the service time thing.

        Consider though that, if the Reds were ever going to throw service time out the window, its probably going to be for someone like Senzel.

        I can’t dismiss the thought that if anyone is going to play their way onto the 25 man in ST it will be Senzel.

        One size doesn’t fit all and Senzel is a generational player IMO.

        Just spitballing.

      • Bill

        But if he’s a generational player, wouldn’t it make sense to trade 13 days (max of 11 games; weather is questionable in early April) for 162 games 6 years later?

  21. A.B.

    Looks like the trade just went official. Waiting to hear details.