Gray is still just 27-years-old and is not a free agent until after the 2019 season which gives the Yankees some stability in their rotation. Gray has a 3.43 ERA in 97 innings this season and a 3.42 ERA in parts of five years in the majors, all with Oakland. In his career, Gray has a 7.7 K/9 and a 2.9 BB/9 with a GB% of 54.4.
Gray relies primarily on a fastball/sinker combination, which sit in the 91-96 mph range, and mixes a slider, curve and change up into his repertoire.
The story on Gray was that he was once one of the best young pitchers in the game, but has dealt with a string of injuries, including a strained lat muscle that landed him on the DL to start this season. In the past he has experienced a trained trapezius muscle and a forearm strain that landed him on the DL.
After Gray started the year on the DL and had a mixed-results month of May, he has settled down. Since June 4, Gray has a 2.73 ERA and has allowed three earned runs or less in nine of his last 10 starts.
Mateo was the biggest name prospect going to Oakland in this deal and he nearly looked untradable about a month ago. He really struggled this year in repeating High-A for the third time and hit just .240/.288/.400 in Tampa. Since he was promoted to Double-A, though, Mateo has hit a robust .300/.381/.525 indicating that he could still be an elite center fielder.
Kaprielian was a big-time prospect at one point after he was drafted 16th overall by the Yankees in the 2015 draft. However, he has suffered multiple serious injuries since then and lost significant development time. Now he’s a big walking question mark with almost no minor league track record to fall back on.
Then there is Fowler is kind of a sneaky prospect, who lost his chance to stick with the Yankees after he injured his knee in the first inning of the first game he played. Fowler played well at every level before that and really turned himself into a prospect this season when he hit .293/.329/.542 in 70 games in Triple-A.
ROB’S THOUGHTS: It’s hard to hate this trade even though the Yankees lost three prospects that everybody has already probably heard of. The thing is the Yankees desperately needed pitching with just two starting pitchers guaranteed in the 2018 rotation (CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Jaime Garcia are all free agents and Masahiro Tanaka can opt-out of his contract).
All three prospects were eminently tradeable as well. Mateo struggled through most of this season after he was suspended by the team late last year. Many people had labeled him as a bust as recently as June. Kaprielian is an unknown and a person who simply cannot be relied upon in the near future, and Fowler is the odd man out of a crowded outfield situation. You hate to see a team that is still rebuilding give up three prospects like that, but at least none of these are of the can’t-miss variety.
The bottom line is that the Yankees were desperate for pitching, Gray is the best pitcher on the trade market who has controllable years left, and they got him without giving up anyone expected to play a big role in 2018. This deal makes sense at the time.