It is no secret the Braves seek a frontline starter as they approach the 2019 season as defending NL East Champions. Alex Anthopolous will leave no stone unturned in his search. However, a name that the team has recently been linked to could prove to be a big mistake for the franchise.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Braves, Rangers, and Twins have recently joined the mix for Sonny Gray.
Gray is the former ace for the Oakland Athletics. However, since being traded to the New York Yankees, he has not been the same guy.
Now, the Braves have a good track record of turning around pitchers. Heck, look at Anibal Sanchez. Of course, this does not pan out for everyone. I am looking at you, Bartolo Colon.
Gray has a bunch of talent, and chances are he could turn things around in Atlanta. His road splits were not bad, and he is still just 29-years-old.
So why should the Braves steer away?
For starters, they already have a plethora of arms ready to contribute to the rotation. Even with Anibal Sanchez now a free agent, they have Mike Foltynewicz, Kevin Gausman, Julio Teheran, Sean Newcomb and Touki Toussaint under contract for next season. While many do not think Teheran will be back, they have other youngsters ready to emerge with ace potential such as Kyle Wright and Mike Soroka. Thus, it only makes sense to add a true top-of-the-line starter to boost the rotation.
Gray would be a rental, with an estimated arbitration figure of $9 million. While the Braves certainly have that type of money, it seems doubtful given the spending history of the team that they would allocate those type of funds to a one-year, bounce-back candidate. And at that, it would make no sense to give up anything down on the farm to make it happen.
Gray will probably turn things around at some point, and if he had a few years left of team control, it would be worth the risk. The only way this move would be advisable for the Braves is if they just gave up a true C-level prospect to help the Yankees get some money off the books, and this would likely only make sense if they find a new home for Teheran. However, with a long list of suitors already intact, it seems as if the Yankees will get some type of return for him.
If this were all to happen, however, it would not be the worst idea, as Gray is from Nashville and attended Vanderbilt. Could the Braves try to bring him in in hopes of a turnaround season and a hometown discount?
This all seems unlikely, and while personally, I will be rooting for Gray to turn things around, it just does not make sense for the Braves currently given their situation.