The Houston Astros could be discussing Sonny Gray with the Oakland A’s, would he be a good fit?
With Fanfest this weekend, the Houston Astros are still seeking a top of the rotation starting pitcher. The main talk since Chris Sale was traded to the Red Sox has been Chris Archer or Jose Quintana. The Astros have found that the asking price for Archer is through the roof, so they are still looking at Quintana.
The White Sox are asking for the moon as well with the deals they have made this offseason. There is mutual interest between the two sides, but which GM will blink at this point? The Quintana talks have gone on since the winter meetings with no agreement in sight. With the mega offer they gave to the Rays for Archer, they want to add a starter.
Hypothetically speaking, if Quintana is not a realistic option, they need a backup plan. Another name that has emerged this offseason has been the Athletics ace Sonny Gray. Everything was not Sunny in Oakland for Gray last year. He struggled with injuries that led to poor performance and missing some games.
Of the three available starting pitchers, Gray is the riskier option for the Astros. Quintana had been solid over the past five seasons, pitching 200 plus innings in four of them. Archer has pitched like an ace but struggled last year. Gray was limited to 117 innings, going 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA. He had 94 strikeouts in 22 starts with a career-high 1.496 WHIP. Looking at those stats, you would hope that the Astros don’t give up too much for him.
However, the former first-round pick out of Vanderbilt has a career ERA of 3.42 with 38 wins and 31 loses. He was one of the bright young stars in baseball and is only 27-years-old. His 2016 stats inflated his career ERA and still throws a fastball that averages close to 93 mph.
Why did Gray struggle so bad in 2016? Most of his injuries involved his right arm (forearm and trapezius). Some have said that his mechanics need to be tweaked to prevent future injuries. Maybe a fresh start in a new organization will help. The Astros will do a physical before trading to see where he is health-wise.
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Gray’s name was floated around earlier in the offseason, but Ken Rosenthal reported the Stros and A’s are still in communication. While Gray is a possible diamond in the rough, he does present an interesting dilemma.
Does Gray fit?
The Astros gave two top of the rotation
Even with a down season in 2016, Gray will not come cheap. He is under team control until the 2019 season so that you would be trading for three years of service. He won’t cost as much as Quintana, but you never know what Billy Bean will do.
On this roster, Gray would probably be a good second or third starter. If the name Joseph Musgrove comes up, though, he could have the potential of Gray soon. This doesn’t appear to be a Jeff Luhnow type target. There is some risk involved. However, for the right price, Gray could be the difference.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs***