Yankees trade for Sonny Gray in package headlined by Jorge Mateo

After weeks of trade rumors, the Yankees finally got their man in Athletics right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray in a trade that included Jorge Mateo, James Kaprielian and Dustin Fowler.

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.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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42 Responses to Yankees trade for Sonny Gray in package headlined by Jorge Mateo

  1. Celerino says:

    Great trade. Gray fits in with the rebuild program. He is young and fills a key spot. His prime years in front of him. Kaprelian is hurt yet again and would take a few years to build up his innings for a rotation spot.

    • tom says:

      Kap wasn't on 40m so Yankees had no rights to rush him off like that. Boo!

      Anyway, what is next plan for the rotation of 6 starters.

      1) Monty going to AAA.
      2) Monty going to pen, Cessa with AAA.
      3) Garcia in #2
      4) Shreve in #2 or #3

      I think I go with #2 or #4 so Sabathia and Monty can split a game every time.

      • Celerino says:

        Girardi will probably skip Severino and Montgomery a start or two because they are racking up more innings than ever did before. Kap is in his second big injury and will need a few years to build up his innings or else be a bullpen guy. He still has potential but is worth the price for a 27 year old former all-star.

  2. buckeyeballs says:

    my guess is Garcia is the odd man out-maybe he makes one start and comes back in if Monty or Sevy hit innings limits in September. You have to give up to get- Fowler looks good but he's blocked if Hicks is the real deal. Mateo is also blocked if Didi stays long term. Kaprielian could be better than Gray-that's the big risk of this deal in my opinion. Let's see what gray does and how JK responds to tommy john

    • Mike says:

      Wrong. Garcia is not leaving the rotation. Do you follow baseball?

      • tom says:

        Sorry to disappoint you. Garcia is in the limbo for Yankees now.

      • Jim says:

        What an odd reply, chances are the Garcia will get the least starts and is pushing Cessa back down to the minors. Monty has hopefully a long future in the Yankees rotation, Garcia is a rental and least talented of the vets in the staff.

    • Steve S. says:

      I don't think Hicks is the real deal. I don't understand how they can put so much faith in a guy who stunk it up for 4 years. Sure he was great in April and May, but he was already starting to fade when he got hurt. Was 12 for his last 60 I think. Very Hicks like. We'll see. I think they're gonna rue the day they traded Fowler. That guy is good. Very good.

  3. Dave Newman says:

    Little discussed is the international bonus pool money the Yankees have been collecting. Is this their plan for beefing up the farm system? Makes sense since their success will move them down the ranks for the amateur draft. I have no problem trading assets that they were accumulating that made them one of the richest teams in terms of prospects and trying to do well this year. But they still need to plan for the future.

    • buckeyeballs says:

      they've done well there-could be a plan for Otani? I don't see any room with this rotation plus Adams but they definitely have a plan there. This trade ends CC 's career as a Yankee after this year-don't see how or why they would sign him again although I think he has made a nice transition to a crafty lefty

      • tom says:

        It is not for Otani. lol.

        2017-18 IFA signings.

        Everson Pereira -1.5m
        Roberto Chirinos- 900k
        Anthony Garcia – 450k
        Stanley Rosario – 300k
        Ronny Rojos – 1.05m (August)

        The total is 4.2m. That would leave Yankees 550k left in the pool without any penalty prior to 3 trades. Yankees now have about 2.07m left to spend without any penalty. It won't cover Otani (who likely won't come out until at least 18-19 period).

        • gcorcoran says:

          Otani deserves more than 2.07 million, however if he decides to come out anyway for the glory of playing in the MLB, the Yankees are now positioned as well as any other team to make a run at him.

          • tom says:

            Yeah. Yankees can do it with old leftover either since they are free to accept 300k per prospect for next 3 years. Only thing about Otani that Yankees need to pay serious attention to is the luxury tax threshold. His value has to be better than Tanaka. 24-25m AAV? Yikes!

          • gcorcoran says:

            It's a hard cap now. You can't go over it, period. No penalties, just not allowed. So if he comes he will have to accept he's not getting that 24 million. He's stuck with whatever teams have left.

          • tom says:

            Rats! now I remember why Otani can't be exempted from IBM.

    • Jim says:

      Yanks also traded AA Yefry Ramirez to the Os for international bonus pool money. Though I haven't found the exact amount.

  4. Jack says:

    Great trade. Yanks get a proven major league pitcher for prospects. This is like the Yanks of old going for a championship. All Yankee fans should now show some love to Hal and Cashman. GO YANKS !!!!

  5. Terry says:

    I really like this trade. It's exactly the kind of trade I criticize them for not making. Trading veterans for prospects is the easier one. Targeting a player you think is a difference maker and then going to get him is harder. But they did it. I love it!! Going for it, Awesome! Relatively low price for a proven ML pitcher. When you think playoffs and matching up rotation wise, we just took a giant step. This year and beyond.

  6. tom says:

    At end of 2017 season as today's rosters stand. (August 1st)

    — Absolutely Must Add to 40m —
    OF Clint Frazier //// (25m platoon)
    SP Domingo Acevedo
    SU Tyler Wade //// (25m bench)
    IF Gleyber Torres
    OF Dustin Fowler //// (40m trade)

    — High Recommendation —
    IF Thairo Estrada
    SP Zach Littell //// (trade)
    SP Albert Abreu
    RP Nick Rumblebow
    RP J.P. Feyereisen
    SP Nick Green

    — Depend On Reserve Roster Condition —
    RP Matt Wotherspoon //// (trade)
    P Caleb Smith //// (40m)
    RP Tyler Webb //// (40m trade)
    RP Colten Brewer
    SP Nestor Cortes
    SP Ian Clarkin //// (trade)
    1B Chris Gittens
    1B Mike Ford

    — Potentially Removed from Reserve Roster —
    P Luis Cessa (Fringe)
    RP Tyler Clippard (FA) //// (trade)
    P Dietrich Enns (Fringe) //// (trade)
    RP Giovanny Gallegos (Fringe)
    P Bryan Mitchell (Fringe)
    SP Michael Pineda (FA) //// (TJS)
    SP CC Sabathia (FA)
    1B Chris Carter (Non-Tender) //// (DFA)
    1B Tyler Austin (Fringe)
    U Rob Refsnyder (Fringe) //// (DFA/trade)
    DH Matt Holliday (FA)
    SP Masahiro Tanaka (Option)
    OF Mason Williams (Fringe) //// (DFA/outright)
    C Kyle Higashioka (Fringe)
    C Austin Romine (Fringe)
    //// 3B Todd Frazier (FA)
    //// 1B Garrett Cooper (Fringe)
    //// SS Jorge Mateo //// (40m trade)

    • tom says:

      I just learned that a team can't protect a player who is outrighted to minor league (DFA off 40m) after WS conclusion. If Yankees want Rumbelow to stay in the system then he has to be added now. Interesting. Rumbelow and Mason Williams will be unprotected this off season (Rule 5 draft).

      Jake Cave can be protected since he never was on 40m to start a season. He was dfaed and outrighted back to Yankees' minor league.

  7. tom says:

    I am not sure about rules but Yankees have 24 or 48 hours since the last trade that affected 40 reserve roster to update the current reserve roster. Yankees have 38 players with Bird and Pineda being on 60 DL. No way Yankees will have to hurry up and activate Bird because it will burn minor league option. I don't care if it is just first one. Just no.

    Castillo or Rodriguez could be added to 40m as an insurance for catching position. Dump him once Romine is 100 percent healthy or find better and younger catcher. Hell, let's add both. lol. They are expendable as hell.

    • Teams don't *have to* have 40 players on the 40 man roster. They're fine with 39 for a while.

      • tom says:

        1- MLB team can have an active roster of minimum 24 players. Due to trades, they are allowed to have lighter roster than 24m for 48 hours.

        2- MLB team can carry the reserve roster of up to 40 players without having someone on 60 day DL. Can't put someone on 60 day DL unless you are committed to maximize the reserve list which is consist of 40 players.

        The common sense for 40r situation is Yankees will have to add one more player by tomorrow. Sorry I miscounted as Yankees have 39, not 38, players. I could not find any rule to enforce this situation but I will wait until tomorrow to see if Yankees get Bird off 60 day DL or add a scrap player. If so, we now know that there is a rule for that. lol.

  8. Balt Yank says:

    Should anyone who wants to add "Nick Rumblebow" to the 40 Man Roster and drop back up catcher Romine be listened to? What a bizarre opinion. I would have enjoyed seeing Mateo play for us with his speed. Can't argue with young starting pitching. I would keep Cessa and Mitchell on the 40-man as neither of them are fringe BP players and maybe Mitchell at least could be a starter.

    • tom says:

      I think Yankees should not add Rumbelow to 40r because he is a good pitcher who has MLB experience. In that way, Yankees can trade him for an exact player without worrying about worst team claims him off the waiver.

      I call Mitchell and Cessa fringe prospects because the way Yankees have treated them.

      BTW, who said about dropping Romine?

  9. Nunzio says:

    The Yankees need to do two things make sure Pineda and Sabathia land on there feet someplace other than Yankee stadium….. you can match up fringe players with 40 man roster players but make sure your not signing back big money that are always hurt and under perform….. the Yankees need to be the bombers once again with formidable pitching , the past Yankees were no secret they out performed all the other teams , with what they have now they look like a team that is young and up coming and there free agent signings with all that money that will be available makes it even better…… you can measure all the stats you want and try to look like a genius by posting , the only stat that matters is developing good young talent and spend money on good free agents .

    • buckeyeballs says:

      This trade likely ends CC's career with Yanks-he was a doubtful signing anyway and they need a spot for Adams next year-don't see them blocking Adams. Does anyone know how much they project to be under the lux tax next year? Enough to sign Hosmer? Their pitching is pretty well set now

      • tom says:

        Luxury tax threshold has been fluid from first day to last day of MLB calendar cycle. That means Yankees should set for 185m to cover roster entering 2018's regular season so they have room to upgrade anything during the season. That is only way to actually meet the threshold. Starting the season at 190-195m means Yankees are projected to be over the threshold.

        • As of right now, the Yankees have 7 players on guaranteed contracts for 2018 worth a total of $88.5 million (this includes Brian McCann and the $5.5 million he is owed). There is no guarantee that they will be over the threshold next season. In fact, they very well could be under.

      • Starting pitchers under contract for 2018 are Severino, Montgomery and Gray. This trade does not necessarily end Sabathia's career with the Yankees. I still expect them to have an interest in re-signing him.

  10. garyb says:

    Todays Game (Wed 8/2/17) Yankees 6th Inning First 2 Batters for NY Single Double Runners on 2nd & Third No Outs Down By 2. Brain Dead Joe In All His Splendor Glory and Inept Arrogance Doesn't Mix it Up. Just Waiting For THE LONG BALL Well Guess What You Didn't Get It. No Matter As Long As Girardi Is Managing The Yankees They Will Lose More Games Than They Will Win. As For These Recent Pitching Additions Don't Be Surprised If Joe And His Pitching Coaches Don't Screw Them Up Wanting Them To "Pitch Their (Yankee) Way. Love The Yankees But Girardi And His Band Of Equally Inept Pitching Coaches Will Be The Yankees Achilles Tendon.

    • Steve S. says:

      Their recent futility with guys in scoring position and less than 2 outs is concerning and disturbing. Judge, for all the thrills he's given us has to put the bat on the ball. His strikeout rate is obscene.

    • Jerry says:

      Thought you might want to know, Girardi is 954 wins and 773 losses. Almost 200 more wins.

  11. Steve S. says:

    For anyone interested, Steven Sensley a left handed hitting outfielder recently drafted in the 12th round was just promoted to Charleston from Pulaski. He was really raking at Pulaski and hasn't missed a beat at Charleston. It was his second promotion this season.

    • tom says:

      Yeah, once he reached 9 HRs in no time, I tried to find scouting report for him. I found nothing but someone suggested he is nobody. How could a college junior from top 12 round be considered as nobody? Too fat to play OF suggests that?

      David Ortiz may be a solid comparison for this kid.

      • Steve S. says:

        I'll take that comparison, lol. He's 6'1". Weighs 220 lbs. That's big, but not outlandish. If he keeps hitting, who cares.

  12. Balt Yank says:

    Steve S., thanks for the news. I do hope the Yankees refocus on their young players. Trading Mateo for Gray is smart but it will be ashame to see Mateo still 50+ bases as a CF for the As. Likewise, trading Blake Rutherford for some bullpen help and 3B rental hitting 200 is an iffy move and that guy is likely to become a valuable corner outfielder in 2019-2020 for seven or so years. However, next year with Gray, Tanaka, Severino, Montgomery, and Chance Adams, we have a starting rotation. If Tanaka leaves, resign Jamie Garcia.

    • tom says:

      Just a happy thought.

      Rutherford for Kahnle and Robertson. Clippard for Frazier.


    • Steve S. says:

      Yank, I don't think what you said was outlandish. The Yankees are not an elite team yet. Some people will slam me, but so what. This win now at all costs when you are not ready is short sighted. They got greedy. Let's see how far they can go. Polo was blocked. Rutherford was a patience play. and they couldn't wait. He will be a very good player. Clarkin was a liability because of injuries. Fowler, I think will be great. Mateo could be an eternal head case, but could turn out very well. Kaprielian, with the surgical advancements of today will probably turn out to be everything the Yankees envisioned. Littell is very intriguing. He could come back and bite them big time. Enns, not so much. He was expendable. I think the Gray trade is good in theory, but they should have found a way to make it without including Fowler. Mistake, mistake, mistake. All of a sudden their outfield is looking a tad thin to me. Too much reliance in Hicks. The Ellsbury mess. Gardner, for as great as he's been is getting long in the tooth. Don't want to sound like a heathen, especially after all the thrills he's given us, but Judge is still a bit of a mystery. Frazier does look like a keeper though. Maybe they think Cave and/or McKinney will be the answer. Florial is still a couple or three years away. Isiah Gilliam? Maybe. Jhalan Jackson? I doubt it. If Sensley is the real deal he could come quick, although much too small a sample size to get excited yet. Nine homers and 23 rbi's in less than 100 at bats while hitting over .300 is impressive though. Rookie league or not. Do they really want to get involved with Bryce Harper? Maybe. They sure made room for him by trading two top outfield prospects.

  13. Balt Yank says:

    steal 50+ LOL

  14. WyomingGrizFan says:

    I just wonder what it would take to get Mike Trout from the LA Angels before next year..

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