If the Cincinnati Reds decide to sell, inquiring about Sonny Gray is a really intriguing idea for the Mets.
If only Josiah Gray was nearing the end of his deal and not a rookie who just made his MLB debut this past week, because then this article could have been about the three Grays. Alas, we’ll just have to settle for two.
This Gray, Sonny, is the king Gray.
There’s no guarantee he’s even on the table to be traded at the deadline. In fact, it’s probably more likely he stays in Cincinnati than goes, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.
The Reds aren’t having a bad season by any means, sitting a couple of games above .500, but just don’t look like they have quite what it takes to be serious contenders. Sure, maybe they sneak into the playoffs as the second wild card team, but there’s virtually no chance of a run for the title.
Whenever they’ve had that big chance to take hold of the NL Central, they’ve failed. Yes, they’re still in second place in the division and by no means out of it yet, but the Brewers are rolling right now and just look like far and away the better ballclub.
On top of that, the Reds just lost their best bat Nick Castellanos to a deep drive to left field — I mean to a microfracture in his wrist. It’s unknown how long the injury will keep him out, but as of right now, it doesn’t look good.
Again, there’s no guarantee the Reds are even looking to sell, but if this next week goes poorly and they drop even more out of contention, the Mets should immediately call about Gray.
Aside from an infamously bad 2018 in the Bronx and an injury-riddled 2016 in Oakland, Gray has been a consistently above-average starting pitcher since he entered the league. He’s a two-time All-Star as well, once in 2015 with the A’s and again in 2019 with the Reds.
This season in 13 starts and 66.2 innings, he has a 3.65 ERA and 129 ERA+. His ERA is also about half a run lower when he’s not pitching in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati as opposed to when he is.
The big difference with Gray compared to the other three pitchers mentioned is that he’s not a rental, he’s under contract through next season and has a team option for 2023.
He’s not incredibly cheap, but he’s by no means expensive either, being owed just over $10 million next year and $12 million if the option is picked up the following year.
Gray will certainly cost more in a trade than Davies, Anderson or Colorado’s Gray, but he’s also flat out the best pitcher out there and potentially under team control for two more seasons after this one.
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If the Mets can pick him up for a reasonable price, it should be a no-brainer.