Monday, January 21, 2019

The Sonny Gray Seige Finally Ends...

Photo Credit: New York Post (Paul J Bereswill)
Trade to Cincinnati is finally confirmed...

Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal (two sources!) brought great news to the Yankees Universe this afternoon with word the Sonny Gray trade with the Cincinnati Reds has been finalized.  Hallelujah!

LHP Reiver Sanmartin will accompany Gray to Cincinnati as part of the trade.  Martin was acquired from the Texas Rangers in November 2017 in a minor trade that sent RHP Ronald Herrera to the Rangers.  Martin was most recently with the Double A Tampa Tarpons.

As expected, the Yankees receive second baseman Shed Long and a competitive balance draft pick.  For more information on Shed Long, please see the Meet A Prospect posted earlier today by Daniel Burch.

Oops, scratch that.  Passan is reporting the Seattle Mariners are involved in the trade which will send Long to the Great Northwest.  Centerfield prospect Josh Stowers, currently rated as the Number 10 prospect for the Mariners by, will head to the Bronx.  The 21-year-old Stowers spent last season with the Everett (WA) AquaSox (A Short).  He played 58 games, hitting 5 homers and 28 RBIs in 200 at-bats.  His batting line was .260/.380/.410 with .790 OPS. Stowers was Seattle's 2nd round pick (54th overall) in last year's MLB Draft.

Photo Credit: (Shari Sommerfield)
If true, this does free up a spot on the 40-man roster as Adam Ottavino, once his signing is official, will simply take Gray's spot.  While Long was on Cincinnati's 40-man roster, Stowers is a couple of years away before he needs to be protected.  Luis Cessa lives to see another day.

Per Rosenthal, Gray's extension with the Reds is for three years at $30.5 million.  He was already scheduled to receive $7.5 million for the upcoming season so the extension kicks in with the 2020 season, essentially giving the Reds four years of control.  The extension includes a club option for 2023 at $12 million.  Rosenthal indicated all salaries can grow based on numerous escalators.  There is also an incentive of $500,000 per year if Gray reaches a minimum number of innings pitched in each given year.

I think this is a great deal for Sonny Gray and his family.  He has financial security and will not have to face the gloomy free agent market next fall.  He gets to play in a lower-pressurized environment and he has a very good chance to rebuild his image through better performance.

I am so thankful the Sonny Gray Era has ended.  We can finally move on with our lives.

Sonny Gray Trade? Hold, Please...

And We Continue to Wait for Gray’s Departure…

I had two wishes for Sunday and neither one materialized for me. Sonny Gray is still a Yankee and the New England Patriots are headed to the Super Bowl. Some sports days really suck. Well, I guess it could be worse. It wouldn’t be fun to be a New Orleans Saints fan today but aside from their pain, yesterday was quite forgettable all things considered. Nevertheless, today is a new day and another opportunity to rip the Pinstripes off Sonny Douglas Gray. Please, Brian Cashman, work your magic and make it happen.

The hang up with the Cincinnati Reds appears to be their desire to sign Sonny, a free agent after the season, to an extension. Reports indicate the Reds have until later today (the conclusion of a 72-hour window) to see if they can get Sonny to put pen to paper.’s Bryan Hoch is reporting the deadline is sometime this evening.  Until the deal is finalized, there is a chance it could break down and the Yankees would need to pivot to other opportunities to unload young Mr Gray. 

Jon Heyman’s tweet yesterday that ended with “…or keep him” was rather jarring to me. Look, I want Sonny Gray to do well at his next destination. I hope the dude recaptures the luster he once had in Oakland and puts himself into Cy Young consideration in future years. But, and that’s a very BIG but, I do not want him on the 2019 New York Yankees. I’ve seen enough shades of Gray at Yankee Stadium. 

Photo Credit: AP (Julie Jacobson)
Despite Great American Park not being known as a pitcher’s park, Cincinnati seems to have everything that would appeal to Sonny. It’s approximately 275 miles from his home in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a young team that has added some interesting pieces this off-season with Tanner Roark, Alex Wood, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. They have Joey Votto and a sound closer in Raisel Iglesias. A quick check of the current Reds roster shows that his old Oakland number and the number previously worn in Cincinnati by Aroldis Chapman (54) is available. The pitching coach is Derek Johnson who happened to be Sonny’s pitching coach at Vanderbilt. Cincinnati is considered a less-pressurized small market but a team with some history and tradition. I am sure that Yankees manager Aaron Boone could give some great insight into life in Cincinnati. Oh, wait a minute, Sonny has not heard from the Yankees since the off-season began. Scratch a talk with Boonie. The Reds offer a rotation that would not put any undue pressure on Gray.  He could be the best starter or he could be the worst. It’s really up to him and I think Reds fans will be more forgiving than us. 

Cash, get the Gray trade closed! We have faith in you.

I still don’t get why there is resistance among the fanbase for Adam Ottavino to be the first Yankee to wear the number 0. I am not sure if it is because “0” is not really a number, the fact no Yankee has ever worn the number or a preference for Derek Jeter to be the one to last wear a single digit number. Maybe there are other reasons but I really have no reason to believe Otto should not wear the number. Give it to the man. He’s a native New Yorker and he’s going to wear the Pinstripes proud. 

Emily Waldon of The Athletic recently reported the Yankees will attend a showcase for RHP Rookie Davis and LHP Adam Libertore on January 31st. Libertore, a 31-year-old former Dodgers reliever who was cut last August, does not really interest me, but I’d like to see the Yankees bring back Davis for an opportunity to kick start his career again. Davis was part of the deal that originally brought Aroldis Chapman to New York. Davis was one of four Yankees who went to Cincinnati, and he probably had the most success which really isn’t saying much since none of them panned out for the Reds. Davis underwent hip surgery in October 2017 and missed most of 2018 on the disabled list.  Davis appeared in seven games for the Reds in 2017 with six starts. The numbers were awful: 1-3, 8.63 ERA, giving up 38 hits, 23 earned runs, and 7 homers in 24 innings pitched. However, he was once a bright prospect and will only be 26 in late April.  Not sure if anything is there, but why not. I wouldn’t bring him in on a Major League deal but a minor league contract to allow him to rebuild value works for me assuming it works for him. 

Photo Credit: Cincinnati Enquirer (Zach Buchanan)

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr Day so let’s honor and remember one of the greatest men in American history. He may be gone but his voice is heard loudly today and will continue to resonate through many tomorrows to come.


As always, Go Yankees!

Meet a Prospect: Shed Long

The New York Yankees made a trade with the Cincinnati Reds this week that sent right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray to Cincinnati, while 2B prospect Shed Long, a draft pick, and a player to be named later returned to New York. Long was considered the Reds 6th or 7th best prospect in a great farm system, depending on what list you check, and could be a considerable talent for the New York Yankees going forward in their farm system… so let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Shed Long Edition.

Shedric Bernard Long was born on August 22, 1995 and attended High School at Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville, Alabama. While attending he played baseball for the school’s team and caught the attention of the Cincinnati Reds who drafted the then catcher in the 12th round of the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft. Long made his professional debut with the Arizona League Reds almost immediately after signing and finished his first pro season with a .256 batting average with one home run and eight RBI in 24 games played. Long played behind the plate again during the 2014 season before the Reds moved him to second base before the 2015 season with the Dayton Dragons. Long continued to work his way up the Reds organizational ladder until he was added to Cincinnati’s 40-man roster after the 2017 season. Shed spent the 2018 season in Double-A with the Pensacola Wahoo’s where he hit .261 with 12 home runs and 56 RBI in 126 games.

Long is just 5’8” and 180 lbs. Long hits from the left-side but throws from the right in the field at second base. Long has shown surprising power in the minor leagues and has even drawn praise from a Hall of Fame player in Barry Larkin. Larkin, in an interview with, said of Long, “Certainly, talent wise, he has big-league talent, no doubt about it.” Larkin went on to mention that Long has to work on the mental aspect of the game, but honestly that could probably be said about any minor league player, especially one that was drafted out of High School.

Here is a short clip from Bobby Nightengale, son of Bob Nightengale, showcasing Shed Long smacking a two-run single in the 3rd inning of an Arizona Fall League game.

And here are some stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Register Batting
2016202 Teams132548478691403051575214120.293.371.471.842
2017212 Teams1044393885010922316509494.281.358.477.834
All All All 476192916932374598816502195720418.271.352.431.783
With that said, welcome to the organization, Shed, and welcome to the Yankees family! (pending an extension with Sonny Gray for Cincinnati)