By Jon Heyman
The Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees aren’t believed close to any deal yet in talks about Sonny Gray, as Oakland is said to have asked for packages that include either outfielder Clint Frazier or shortstop Gleyber Torres, two young players the Yankees have suggested are off-limits.
The A’s, in a deep sellers’ market, have named the very top prospects in talks to this point. From the Brewers, they are believed to like outfielder Lewis Brinson, and from the Braves outfield Ronald Acuna. The Brewers are said to have “backed off” in recent days, while the Braves are thought to be behind in the running.
Some teams are suggesting this will go to the wire since the prices are steep. And one rival executive went so far as to say, “the A’s have been steep in their asks so they may keep him.”
Perhaps more likely, they are just waiting for someone to bend. Gray is the most attractive pitcher on the market, as a young, affordable guy with a big upside who is currently hot. There’s a decent chance Yu Darvish will be traded, and while he has a greater pedigree, he’s a rental. The other pitchers on the market don’t stack up to Gray.
The A’s are believed especially focused on acquiring a center fielder of the future, and they’ve named the Yankees’ CF prospect Estevan Florial in packages, as well. To this point they are insisting on Frazier or Torres, but they’ve shown interest in some other Yankees prospects, including pitcher James Kaprielian, infielder/outfielder Jorge Mateo and others. The Yankees have seemed reluctant to include their top four or five guys, and they count Florial among that great.
The Yankees also like Darvish, and would consider Lance Lynn if he’s dealt, as well as perhaps some others. But most of the talk so far has revolved around Gray.
The Yankees got Torres in a four-man package for star reliever Aroldis Chapman, a rental at the time last year, in a situation where the Cubs were going for it (and got it, winning the first World Series title since 1908). Frazier came with top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield in a trade for top reliever Andrew Miller.
The Dodgers and Astros are seen as potentially serious players for Gray, and the Mariners, Royals and others have checked in on the A’s young star.