This season is flying by. The halfway point of the season has already passed, and after some inconsistent play early in the year the Red Sox are really starting to hit their stride. Despite that, there are still a few obvious holes on this roster and you can expect this team to be involved in plenty of rumors as the trade deadline quickly approaches. With the calendar flipping over to July earlier in the week, rumor season is about to kick into full gear. In fact, some of those rumors have already started. One of the big ones that has come out over the last week or so is that the Red Sox could be interested in Sonny Gray, at least according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan.
This isn’t the first time Gray has been connected to the Red Sox, as the A’s have been towards the bottom of the standings for a few years now. Gray has been their most valuable chip for a long time and the Red Sox have needed pitching for a long time, so the match made a ton of sense at one point. He’s still only in his age-27 season and is under team control for two more seasons after this one. Despite all that, making this kind of move just doesn’t make sense for Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox.
To start off, I want to make it clear that this really has nothing to do with Gray the pitcher. Although he had a rough 2016 and his ERA isn’t really up to par this season, we’re still talking about an outstanding pitcher and a valuable player. He’s been the victim of some rough sequencing to get his 4.09 ERA, as he’s striking out nearly a batter per inning while posting an above-average walk-rate and one of the best ground ball rates of any starter in baseball. With all of that considered, he has a 2.96 DRA, and after adjusting for park that mark is 17th among the 100 pitchers with at least 70 innings pitched this season.
Despite the talent, though, he’s just not worth it for the Red Sox. Because he’s pitching so well and he has multiple years of control left before he can leave in free agency, he is going to cost a ton in terms of prospects. As you may have heard, the Red Sox don’t have a ton of prospect depth from which to deal after making some blockbusters since Dombrowski has come to town. This isn’t a reason for them to hold on to prospects at all cost, as this is a team in contention and it is worth paying an appropriate price for a player who could put Boston over the edge. The issue is that starting pitching isn’t a big weakness for the Red Sox right now and it’s not where they should be pouring their resources.
As it currently stands, Boston’s rotation is arguably their biggest strength. Obviously, Chris Sale has been great at the top of it. Behind him, Drew Pomeranz is showing that he is fully capable of being a strong presence in the rotation. Rick Porcello is starting to come around with his command lately and David Price is showing better command. While both pitchers still have a while to go to get to where the Red Sox expect them to be, neither are going to be pushed out of the rotation. Then, there’s Eduardo Rodriguez. The young lefty is currently on the disabled list, of course, but he’s been outstanding when healthy this season and there’s an argument to be made that he deserves the most confidence in the rotation after Sale. Plus, he’s relatively close to return as he already has one rehab start under his belt.
That gives the Red Sox five pitchers who they aren’t going to push out of the rotation after making a trade. It doesn’t make sense to spend the relatively little prospect depth they have on someone at that position. If someone in the rotation goes down with a big injury between now and the deadline, the conversation could change, but right now paying a huge price in prospects for a pitcher like Sonny Gray just doesn’t make much sense.