The White Sox need pitching in 2019 and there is a former All-Star available for what should be an affordable price.
At the 2017 trade deadline, the Yankees signed Sonny Gray, and they kept him through the 2018 season. Now, they want to trade him and the White Sox front office should take a good look at the 29-year-old right-hander.
According to Connor Byrne with MLB Trade Rumors, there are teams that have shown interest. But, no serious talks have been had. Interestingly, the team that has shown the most interest is his former team, the Oakland Athletics.
Though Gray was not popular with Yankee fans, he is not a bad pitcher. In 2018, he pitched 130.1 innings and had an ERA of 4.90. His WHIP was high: 1.496. His FIP was 4.17 and his ERA+ was 89. The ERA+ is disconcerting as he has had seasons with numbers at 122, 143, and 146.
Playing in New York can be tough for anyone. Even Giancarlo Stanton had a drop in performance after moving from Miami to the Bronx. Chicago might be one of the biggest cities in the country and has dedicated sports fans, it’s not as rough on players as the New York markets.
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Gray could flourish in a stadium like Guaranteed Rate Field. His ERA was better than most of the 2018 pitchers who wore a White Sox uniform.
In Gray’s 130.1 innings, he struck out 123 batters. When comparing his K’s to the 2018 Sox pitching staff, Gray was better. He had .946 K’s per inning. James Shields had .754 K’s per inning. Lucas Giolito had an even lower number of K’s per inning. Reynaldo Lopez had .802 K’s per inning. Gray’s ability to strike out nearly one batter per inning would be a valuable addition to the Sox rotation.
With Michael Kopech out for the season, the Sox need a pitcher for one year. Gray becomes a free agent in 2020. According to the numbers at Spotrac, the Yankees paid Gray $6.5 million. His final year of arbitration is 2019, so he should get a small raise. But, in the scheme of pitching contracts, his should be extremely affordable, especially when compared to the 2019 class of free agents.
Gray may not be the best pitcher on the market, but he’s certainly an affordable one who can fill a need for one season. The Yankees want him gone. Whatever team gets him, it’s a fair guess that Gray will be grateful to be in a new setting with a team that wants him. Usually, happy pitchers deliver for their teams.