Update, Jan. 21, 5 p.m. By Richard Kaufman
The Sonny Gray era in New York is over, as the Yankees have finally struck a deal to send the 29-year-old righty to the Cincinnati Reds in a three-team trade.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Seattle Mariners are sending CF prospect, Josh Stowers, to the Yankees in exchange for Shed Long, who was traded from Cincinnati to New York for Gray. The Yankees preferred Stowers in the end, most likely because he does not need to be added to the 40-man roster. Long required a 40-man roster spot.
Shed Long to the Mariners and Josh Stowers to the Yankees is done, league sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 21, 2019
The New York Yankees announced today that they have acquired OF Josh Stowers from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for 2B Shed Long. https://t.co/d6nxOOPSss
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) January 21, 2019
The Yankees’ deal with the Reds was contingent on Cincy signing Gray to an extension. With the window to complete a deal shrinking, it appeared as if the Yankees were ready to pivot elsewhere. But Gray and the Reds were ultimately able to come together on a three-year, $30.5 million extension, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Gray extension with #Reds complete, per source. Three years, $30.5M, covering 2020-22. Club option for ‘23 at $12M. All salaries can grow based on numerous escalators. Plus $500K of innings pitched bonuses each year.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 21, 2019
Stowers, 21, spent 2018 in Low-A Everett in the Northwest League. Over 58 games, Stowers hit .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 28 RBI to go along with 20 stolen bases. According to MLB Pipeline, Stowers ranked as the Mariners’ 10th best prospect.
[Stowers] began his career in the Class A Short-Season Northwest League after signing for slightly below slot at $1.1 million.
Stowers took off once he smoothed out his right-handed stroke and took a more direct path to the ball. He’s at his best when he tries to hit line drives to all fields, and while he isn’t a power hitter, he has enough pop to produce 12-15 homers per year as a pro. Stowers has an extremely patient approach and a knack for stealing bases.
Scouts give Stowers solid-to-plus grades for his speed, yet there’s mixed opinion on whether he can stick in center field at the next level. It’s essential that he does so to profile as a regular, because he doesn’t have the power to profile on a corner. Stowers’ below-average arm will push him to left field if he can’t stay in center.
Previous update, Jan. 21, 12:15 p.m. By Richard Kaufman
The trade that would send Sonny Gray to Cincinnati is in limbo. The Reds have a limited window to come an extension agreement with Gray, and with the deadline looming, the Yankees could possibly engage other suitors. Stay tuned for updates.
According to a source, there is no agreement yet on an extension between the Reds and Sonny Gray. Still several hours left to come to a deal (though it’s unclear whether it’s a 5pm or midnight deadline). If no extension gets done, Yankees could pivot to a trade with another team.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 21, 2019
According to a source, the Yankees had Gray deals with other clubs in place Friday, so if the Reds aren’t able to come to an extension with the pitcher, those trades could come back into play.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 21, 2019
Original story, Jan. 19
Brian Cashman made it abundantly clear at the end of the season post-mortem press conference that Sonny Gray‘s tenure as a Yankee was at its breaking point, and the Yankees general manager has finally found a suitor. According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Reds are finalizing a deal that would send Sonny Gray to Cincinnati with the Reds’ No. 7 prospect Shed Long, a draft pick and a lesser third piece, going back to the New York.
Yankees, Reds are finalizing the Sonny Gray trade. infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick are expected to go to NY, and possibly a 3rd lesser piece. Long is an excellent hitter, fair defender. Just need to cross t’s, dot i’s (ie medicals, 40-man considerations, etc.)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 20, 2019
At one point, there was over ten teams interested in Gray’s services — mostly small markets. Experts believe Gray will regain his confidence absent from a large market such as the Yankees. With that being said, there was still considerable value for the 29-year-old, especially for the Reds. Gray ends his Yankees tenure going 15-16 with a 4.51 ERA (4.40 FIP) and a 1.41 WHIP over 195.2 innings pitched.
As for the Yankees return, Long played 126 games at the Double-A level last season. He slashed .261/.353/.412 with 12 home runs and 56 RBI. The 22-year-old also participated in the Arizona Fall League, slashing .241/.333/.310 with eight RBI in 19 games.
Long is an offensive minded second baseman, and his glove is still catchup up to his potentially powerful bat. Her is an excerpt from his MLB.com scouting report:
“Long’s left-handed bat is his calling card. Despite his 5-foot-8 frame, Long has shown the ability to consistently impact the baseball. The power is legitimate, coming from outstanding bat speed and very quick hands. He does strike out some, but his walk rate went up in 2017 and he’s shown a willingness to use all fields. Possessing average speed at best, Long is an aggressive baserunner who swiped 21 bases in 2016, though that number decreased to nine in 2017. A catcher when he first began his pro career, he moved to second in 2015, allowing his bat to take off, and he’s worked to become an adequate defensive infielder.”
The third piece has yet to be announced, although Long and a draft pick seems like a fair return on the surface.