It is fair to say that this offseason is similar to last offseason in the sense that it is uneventful. While we are all still waiting for guys like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to sign, the New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds have made a trade.
Cincinnati Reds get: RHP Sonny Gray and LHP Reiver Sanmartin
New York Yankees get: 2B Shed Long and a Competitive Balance Round A pick in the 2019 MLB draft
What the Reds got
Back in 2017 when the Yankees traded for Gray midseason they thought they were going to get ace that Gray was with Oakland. Instead they got a guy who posted a 4.51 ERA in 195.2 innings while allowing 1.1 HR/9. Gray still had one year left on his deal but was able to come to terms with the Reds on a three-year $30.5 million extension.
Sonny Gray was drafted by the Oakland A’s with the 18th overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft. He played his college ball at Vanderbilt University. His first three years with the A’s were tremendous. He was their ace and looked to be a bright part of their future. Then 2016 hit and he posted a 5.69 ERA in 117 innings. He was then traded to the Yankees in the middle of the 2017 season where he made 11 with the team. In those 11 starts Gray gave up 11 home runs.
In 2018 Gray finished the season with a 4.90 ERA and was moved to the bullpen late in the season. It was very clear that the Yankees were interested in trading away Gray and they were able to find a team that was in need of pitching in the Cincinnati Reds.
For the Reds I am not sure how well this move will work for them. Yes, Gray does fill a need in pitching, but it is well known that Gray has a home run problem and putting him in a ballpark known for being one of the easiest ballparks to hit home runs in is concerning. What does work in favor of Gray is that he is reunited with his college pitching coach Derek Johnson. Sonny Gray will be interesting to watch this year with the Reds and if they can get a sub 4.00 ERA out of him this season that should count as a win.
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It wouldn’t be a trade unless Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto gets involved. Shortly after the Reds/Yankees trade was announced Jerry Dipoto went into his bag of tricks and made a trade with the Yankees.
Seattle Mariners get: 2B Shed Long
New York Yankees get: OF Josh Stowers
What the Mariners got
Jerry Dipoto must have really loved Shed Long to trade for him minutes after he was dealt to the Yankees. Long was a 12th round pick in the 2013 MLB draft and he played at Jacksonville High School in Alabama. Long is a threat both at the plate and on the bases. 50 home runs and 54 stolen bases in 457 minor league games.
He was originally drafted as a catcher out of high school but moved to 2nd base in 2015. In 2016 was when he broke out as a prospect with 15 home runs and 21 stolen bases across Low-A and High-A.
I would expect Long to start the 2019 season with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, but I would not be surprised to see him start the season with the Mariners.
What the Yankees got
The Yankees flipped Shed Long for Josh Stowers. Stowers is a 2018 2nd round pick out of the University of Louisville.
In Stowers 58 games in short season A-ball with the Everett AquaSox he posted 5 home runs with 20 stolen bases. His best tool is his speed but is also very good with his glove. His slashline in his 1st pro season was .260/.380/.410. In his first full year of pro ball the Yankees may send him to Low-A Charleston Riverdogs.
At first glance it appears as the Yankees with the edge in this deal but it is too early to tell. At the end of the day let’s just be happy that something happened in the world of Major League Baseball.