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Mets: Which 2020 Reds pitcher makes the most sense in Flushing?

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (27) is wearing shoes featuring the Cincinnati skyline and Great American Ball Park in the third inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Milwaukee Brewers At Cincinnati Reds Sept 23
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (27) is wearing shoes featuring the Cincinnati skyline and Great American Ball Park in the third inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Milwaukee Brewers At Cincinnati Reds Sept 23
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Sep 27, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) throws a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the fifth inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Sonny Gray

Is Sonny Gray afraid to pitch in New York? If his time with the New York Yankees is any indication, the Mets may want to stay away.

But let’s be reasonable. Just because Gray struggled in 2018 with the Yankees doesn’t mean he’d do the same with the Mets. He was an All-Star in 2019. In two years with the Reds, he’s 16-11 with a 3.07 ERA across 42 starts. Gray looks like the same pitcher he was during his time with the Oakland Athletics.

Another trade candidate, Gray is actually on a team-friendly contract given how he can perform. He’ll make $10.1 million in each of the next two years. In 2023, there’s a team option for $12 million. Hitting the escape button after two seasons is definitely intriguing if this ended up as one of those Mets trades we would like to forget.

Gray would cost something but not nearly as much as Castillo. He’s older, more expensive, and possibly looking at his best seasons in the rearview mirror.

Logically, he makes the most sense for the Mets. If not for a rough patch with the Yankees, I think a lot more people would agree.

There is something to be said about how a player performs in a certain city. Brighter lights. More scrutiny. A media that will critique you for putting on socks the wrong way. New York is tough.

As far as these three Reds pitchers go, Gray is the best fit. He won’t cost the Mets a lot in terms of payroll or in prospects. It’s that darn 2018 season which has scared many of us off from really wanting to see him come back to New York.

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Fortunately, the Mets can’t lose with any of these men. Each is an upgrade over what we saw in 2020. Chances are, none actually do end up in orange and blue for the 2021 season—at least not at the start of the year. Things could always change at the trade deadline when the time to make a big playoff push arrives.

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