This weekend was all about rumors that, thus far, have ultimately led to the Braves simply saying “no thanks” given the prices they have been getting quoted.
This is not completely unexpected given that the free agent pitching market is historically awful and the guys they are talking about trading for, including Chris Sale and Chris Archer, are both very good and have years of team control at reasonable to great rates.
Which is why the news that popped up this morning that the Braves have made overtures for the Athletics’ Sonny Gray hardly surprising.
The details of a Sonny Gray deal are not fully known, but he is coming off a down year. It is thought that, among the three big name starters who seem to be available on the trade market, he would probably be the cheapest to get in a deal although that’s far from certain.
Gray finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting in 2015 and while his numbers were not great in 2016 (including a 5.69 ERA that is a full 2 runs above his career average), someone surely will bet that Gray isn’t regressing and 2016 was simply an aberration. If he can keep his fastball from living out and over the plate, he is among the better pitchers in the league.
The A’s likely feel the same way and are certainly not going to just give him away. While they did not do as the White Sox have done and ask for the “untouchable” Dansby Swanson, the price appears at this moment in time to still be too high. As always though, these situations are fluid and it’s likely that the two teams will continue to be connected so long as Gray remains with Oakland.
Sonny Gray posted a 5.69 ERA, 4.67 FIP, and struck out 7.2 batters per 9 innings he pitched in 2016. He also gave up career highs in BB/9 (3.2), HR/9 (1.4), and H/9 (10.2) while only pitching 117 innings primarily due to missing 7 weeks or so with a forearm strain.