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MLB Roundup 1/20: Sounds like the Sonny Gray trade is done

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Sonny Gray trade to Cincinnati being finalized

We’ve known for a long time now that the Yankees were going to trade Sonny Gray this winter, as he just hasn’t worked out in New York after he was acquired from Oakland. The former ace was a disaster for pretty much all of 2018, and now he’ll be heading back to another small market team. According to reports, the Yankees are finalizing a deal that will send Gray to the Reds in exchange for prospect Shed Long, a competitive balance pick (the only kind of draft pick that can be traded for some reason) and possibly another minor leaguer. For the Reds, they get a pitcher who has been good relatively recently without giving up one of their elite prospects. Their hope is that Gray flourishes away from the spotlight of the Bronx, and that they have the righty’s former college pitching coach as their own pitching coach doesn’t hurt. Cincinnati is probably still not on the level of the top teams in that NL Central, but they are putting together an interesting roster all of a sudden.

On the other side, the Yankees were insistent on trading and they have a full rotation after bringing back both CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ along with trading for James Paxton. There’s some real injury risk in New York’s rotation so they’ll almost certainly need significant depth, but they have arms in the minors who can do what Gray has done for them. For me, this deal comes down to what they get in that third minor leaguer, assuming there is one. Long is a fine prospect who is close to the majors, though likely not a future star. The draft pick is certainly not a minor piece and will help them make a bigger splash in the draft with an increased draft pool. The trade with just those two pieces seems fine to me, but the third piece could put it over the top. As a Red Sox fan, obviously I’m hoping it doesn’t.

Twins sign Martín Pérez

At one point a few years ago there appeared to be a chance that Martín Pérez would emerge as a top-level pitcher for the Rangers. Texas has always been pretty good at developing position player talent, particularly from Latin America, but Pérez could be the win on the pitching side. He had a really solid year in 2013 as a 22-year-old, but since then injuries and underperformance have dropped his stock off a ledge. Now a free agent, he’s just agreed to a one-year deal with the Twins that includes a club option for a second year. Minnesota is clearly hoping a change of scenery can get things back on track for the lefty, who will be 28 at the start of the season. Minnesota is only a few breaks from competing in what could be a surprisingly close AL Central, and Pérez is now added to the list of potential breaks.

Dodgers eyeing A.J. Pollock

Back when the Dodgers made the megadeal that sent Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, among others, to the Reds, the assumption was that they were simply making room for Bryce Harper. This is one of the biggest markets in the game trading one of their most popular players to save money in terms of luxury tax payments, and they just so happened to clear the position of one of the top free agents in recent memory. It all made since! Except, well, the Dodgers still haven’t really been connected to the former Nationals star. Now, instead, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that L.A. is in discussions with A.J. Pollock. To be fair, Pollock is a very, very good player and no fan should be upset if their team is talking with him as a free agent. Pollock is an all-around talent and if healthy can be one of the best players in the National League. That said, he’s not as talented as Bryce Harper (nor as young) and he’s not as fun as Puig. There might not be a huge gap in production on the field, and assuming healthy Pollock is probably more productive than Puig, but this offseason still seems strange to me for the Dodgers in any scenario they don’t end up with either Harper or J.T. Realmuto.